A Northland boatyard owner has been dealt a major blow after his resource consent applications for various works were declined by independent commissioners.

For years Doug Schmuck has tried to obtain legal rights to support use of the Wall's Bay Esplanade Reserve in Opua to store, wash down, repair and maintain boats, and to discharge noise and contaminants.

In 2013, the Department of Conservation's Northland Conservator, as the minister's delegate, granted easements allowing the construction of a slipway, stormwater and conduit drain, and the movement of boats across the slipway to the boatyard.

That was challenged in the Court of Appeal by the Opua Coastal Preservation Society (OCPS), which successfully appealed the decision to grant Schmuck use of part of the reserve to work on boats.


The boatyard owner is challenging the court's decision.

Resource consents for the boatyard activities expired around the middle of this year but Schmuck lodged new applications back in December.

Northland Regional Council-appointed independent commissioner Sharon McGarry and Councillor Justin Blaikie this month declined all his resource consent applications on the grounds his boatyard activities have had adverse environment effects.

"It is clear Mr Schmuck considers that continuing to undertake unauthorised activities outside of the boat yard property for 40 years, in direct defiance of the original planning consent, justifies its continuation. We strongly disagree," their finding said.

The commissioners questioned the basis for granting the existing discharge permits given that Schmuck could not comply with the conditions without further approvals.

They said enforcement action by both the Far North District Council and the NRC had been taken to prevent adverse environment effects, but has not been followed through on the basis Schmuck could, at some point, obtain authorisations to undertake activities within the reserve and to comply with the conditions of consent.

"This has proven to be unachievable over a period of nearly 20 years; and in our view, the evidence suggests this is not likely to change in the foreseeable future."

Schmuck can appeal the ruling to the Environment Court.


He did not return calls seeking a comment.