Lake Wanaka mooring owners have been surprised by the news they need to get retrospective resource consent by June next year if they want to continue tying up to their buoys in Roys Bay.
Wanaka Marine and Sport owner Ian Brown told The News last week he did not know he needed a resource consent when he bought his mooring several years ago.
When the Queenstown Lakes District Council conducted a review of the district’s moorings in December 2021, it discovered only 10% had resource consent.
A council communications spokeswoman confirmed last week the owners of 319 private moorings in Lakes Wanaka, Hawea, Whakatipu and Hayes would know ‘‘in the coming weeks’’ if their moorings were legal, whether they needed to apply for retrospective resource consent and how much that might cost.
Mr Brown said he sold his mooring last year but when the review emerged, the purchaser asked for his money back.
Mr Brown said he had no problem doing that but was concerned mooring owners would be individually charged resource consent fees, and suggested it would be better for the council to create a collective consent.
He also felt the council had been illegally collecting fees from owners for many years.
‘‘The QLDC belongs to the ratepayers and should be working for us, not against us. .. The communication has been really bad,’’ Mr Brown said.
He contacted the Otago Daily Times when he felt he was not getting the information he wanted from the council.
Resource consents have been required for moorings and jetties since the Resource Management Act 1991 was passed.
Many mooring owners believed they had existing use rights and did not upgrade to the RMA consenting regime by the statutory deadline of 2005.
Wanaka councillor Quentin Smith confirmed last week the consenting issue did not include Wanaka marina jetty berths. Swing moorings were the issue, he said. They comprise a heavy mooring block on the bottom of the lake, shackles, chains, a rope and a buoy. In Roys Bay, most of these moorings are between the marina and Eely Point.
Cr Smith acknowledged owners had been paying licences, permits and other fees associated with the moorings but said these were separate to a resource consent.
‘‘The QLDC hasn’t changed its policy or made any decision regarding the administration of them, other than to gather information about whether they are compliant with the Resource Management Act and the district plan.
‘‘That is a really important point. There has been no change to their status or policies,’’ Cr Smith said.
There could be several ways to resolve the problem and the council had no plans to take enforcement action in the meantime, Cr Smith said.
‘‘I can understand Ian’s side and his frustration trying to sell his mooring. It will take time to resolve,’’ Cr Smith said.
The council spokeswoman said resources and guidelines were being developed and would be available in the coming weeks.