Lease keeps bay open to all

By kelli.hooks@age.co.nz, Kelli Hooks

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Sandy Bay is to be leased to South Wairarapa District Council in a bid to maintain public access.

At a meeting last Wednesday, SWDC agreed to enter into a lease of Sandy Bay with Hiwi Trust to retain public use.

One of the trustees of Hiwi Trust is Sara Murphy.

Sandy Bay is a boat launching area on the east coast and is deemed the only safe launching area on that stretch of the coast.

Council made the decision after hearing submissions from Pukemanu Boating and Fishing Club and Hiwi Trust, both in support of SWDC leasing Sandy Bay, the council's group manager corporate support Paul Crimp said.

"The owner's [of Hiwi Trust] first preference was for us to lease it, they want to keep it in public access," Mr Crimp said.

Conditions of the lease are still to be negotiated.

"We're just starting to enter into negotiations with Hiwi Trust.

"There's quite a bit of water under the bridge to get the final lease document."

Hiwi Trust have suggested an annual leasing fee of $8750 plus gst, which would be reviewed every five years.

"We will come to an agreement but it'll be in that ball park," said Mr Crimp."

Hiwi have proposed a five-year lease period with rights of renewal for two further five-year periods.

"It's just been an arrangement in the past with no sort of rules or regulations around it. The owners want to formally get something in place," he said.

Mr Crimp said leasing the bay fitted within SWDC's portfolio.

"One of local authorities goals is to provide recreational facilities for the public and Sandy Bay is in line with this goal.

"It does settle a public need which is one of the things that we need to control."

As well as maintaining public access, the council's lease of Sandy Bay will retain access for Search and Rescue operations and would be good from a tourism perspective.

"There's apparently a lot of people that come out from the Manawatu and Wellington to launch their boats there so it definitely does bring quite a lot of activity to the region."

Sandy Bay was the last place Martinborough man Tupara Kiel was seen after launching his inflatable boat from the bay in January this year.

- WAIRARAPA TIMES-AGE

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