A controversial new marina for Waiheke Island's Kennedy Point has been approved by Auckland Council independent planning commissioners.

Resource consent has just been granted for a 186-berth marina with 72 carparks on a pontoon connected to the land via a hinged gangway off Donald Bruce Rd.

The report from commissioners Greg Hill, Mark Farnsworth, Gavin Lister, Vernon Tava and Wayne Donovan said 136 submissions were lodged opposing the scheme, 29 for and four neutral.

Civil engineer and marina specialist Tony Mair of applicant Kennedy Point Boatharbour can now go ahead with the scheme, which Waiheke Local Board chairman Paul Walden said last year was not required.


"Waiheke does not need a marina. Some boat owners will want it and some of these will be locals. It may be that a marina will be palatable to our community. Ultimately this will be determined through a resource consent process," Walden said last year.

The commissioners' report said no dredging or reclamation was needed in the marina's construction because it would use floating attenuators which are to be piled in place. A floating marina office and berth users' facilities, as well as a floating community use building and viewing deck, storage and launch facilities for kayaks and paddleboards is also part of the scheme.

Mair changed his scheme last year to make it more palatable, downsizing it from about 206 berths and replacing rock breakwaters with the floating attenuators. The parking pontoon was also reduced by about 10m and the number of car parks cut from 82 to 72.

Barrister Kitt Littlejohn, who co-ordinated the consent application, outlined the benefits of the project.

"The Kennedy Point location achieved all the key requirements for appropriateness from both policy and practical points of view," the commissioners said of his submissions.

"The existing water depths at Kennedy Point meant that no capital, or maintenance, dredging would be necessary to build a marina and access from a public road was easily achieved.

"Discussions with mana whenua and SeaLink also identified that the site could be developed for a marina without fundamentally impacting on their values and existing operations.

The scaled-back floating marina, consented for Kennedy Point on the island.
The scaled-back floating marina, consented for Kennedy Point on the island.

on the [Unitary Plan] supporting the need for a 'ferry terminal and marina zone' being applied at Kennedy Point to 'provide a cost effective alternative location for an extended ferry service and marina zone'.

"The enhancement of public access is a key feature of the proposal, with proposed public facilities building and deck area close to the gangway onto the marina carpark.

"Facilities for local boating clubs or the Sea Scouts would also be useful additions if the marina was to proceed. A KPM Maritime Trust will be established to 'compensate the public' for the marina occupying the CMA. The money paid would be to fund marine related activities," Littlejohn's submissions said.

Opponents cited issues of negative landscape and visual effects, noise, parking problems and road safety threats. Prolonged noise from construction would cause unnecessary annoyance for residents in the Kennedy Point Rd vicinity, they said.

Landscape architect Helen Mellsop said the marina would reduce perceived naturalness and increase the formality of the landscape. Residents overlooking Kennedy Bay have a high level of visual amenity due to their elevated location. But the marina development would dominate the mid-ground view and reduce the extent of visible open sea, she said.

Save Kennedy Point tabled comprehensive evidence on culture and history, traffic and transport, ecology, construction, navigation and natural and visual character changes, the commissioners' report said.

The commissioners said the marina was essentially for recreational activity and mostly for recreational vessels.

"We obviously recognise that the marina is also a commercial activity, but exists to enable recreational activities... We heard evidence from a range of submitters both supporting and opposing the proposal regarding the extent to which the area is used for 'informal' recreation and public use and access.

"It was clear to us that while some people use the beach for swimming, walking and relaxing, it is not a high use area. This is due in our view to the nature of beach (stony as opposed to sandy) there are 'better' beaches nearby - e.. Shelly Bay; it being the location of the SeaLink operation," they said.