Yacht crews in Auckland's Viaduct Marina say their million-dollar paint jobs are being fouled and damaged by dust from the construction site of the adjacent Park Hyatt hotel.
The five-star $300 million Park Hyatt Auckland on Halsey St began construction in 2012 through Chinese developers Fu Wah and is due for completion mid-2019.
The seven-story, 5000 sqm, incomplete building looms large over the Viaduct Marina, which is situated just meters from dozens of prime harbour berths.
But several yacht crews and one owner spoken to by the Herald on Sunday who are renting the $100-plus a day berths say the Park Hyatt construction site is covering their yachts in a film of industrial residue.
Jason Agnew owns and lives on an ex-navy vessel with his girlfriend and young child, which for the past seven weeks has been berthed in Viaduct Marina for $4500 a month.
He says there's no denying the construction site creates a dirtier environment than usual.
"It definitely increases our requirement for maintenance. Wash downs are required daily and it's certainly not the same as being part of the marina normally so it's definitely noticeable," Agnew said.
Captain Ross, who spoke on the condition his first name was not used, has worked on yachts in Auckland marinas since the mid-90's, and said a drastic increase in commercial activity around Viaduct Marina had taken its toll on boats - one of which he was skipper of.
"The prevailing wind around here is a south westerly, so all that construction over there blows straight through here. It's a bit of an occupational hazard right here, right now," Ross said.
"Particularly you have a big issue when there's grinding of steel. The steel fragments if they fall on the deck and then it rains, particularly if you get salt water on it as well, the rust sits in the paint, stains the paint, and it's a huge amount of hours and expense to get it out.
"Berths are pretty much rare as hens teeth right now. America's Cup coming up, everybody wants to be here, you get charged well for the privilege."
Developer Fu Wah's South Pacific region area general manager Richard Aitken said the company was totally receptive to any complaints from affected boat owners.
"If there are any issues boat owners have with the construction site we're happy to meet and talk to them and try and reach a resolution, it's not a problem," Aitken said.
"The building's wrapped in plastic for a reason, to minimise any disruption."
China Hawkins Construction are the contractor for building the Park Hyatt Auckland and maintain they have followed a strict compliance regime to ensure the site meets all necessary resource consent requirements.
"We are aware there are boat owners concerned with pollutants from construction work across the city and can confirm the Park Hyatt site is following good construction practices," Hawkins Construction said in a statement.
But it seems the issues have been ongoing during the six-year Park Hyatt construction.
Jacob Attwood was a deckhand on a yacht berthed directly below the hotel construction site and said "certainly a lot of dust came over".
"It left quite a stain, it's not like regular dust, it's metallic dust and it really digs in," Attwood said.
"Our mate decided he would try to use a buffer to take it off and he ended up working it into the paint instead of working it out. It was a notable problem last year, I remember that quite sternly."
Phil Jones is another captain on a privately-owned yacht that has been berthed in Viaduct Marina for 10 years and says the metallic dust is "definitely" a nuisance.
"Yes, it used to be better [in Viaduct Marina] but Auckland's changing, it's doubled in size, part of life."
Auckland Council land management company Panuku Development owns a large portion of the berths in Viaduct Marina, including the land on which the Park Hyatt is being constructed.
Panuku marinas general manager Tom Warren said they had not been approached by any berth holders about dust coming from the construction site in the last year.
"Our customers at Viaduct Marina know and understand that dust and dirt is part and parcel of berthing in the CBD and are used to washing their boats regularly," Warren said.
"In instances where there is an issue, we can work with our neighbours to ensure steps are taken to minimise the spread of dust. For example at the moment the Park Hyatt hotel has a plastic wrap around it to prevent the spread of dust from works."
Warren said Panuku would be speaking to berth holders in the coming days to see if there were issues of concern.