A permanent home is tantalisingly close for the Ōtaki Boating Club after more than 14 years of negotiations with Kāpiti Coast District Council.
The club has submitted a proposal to buy council-owned buildings – an old bach and a shed – at 37 Moana Street near the beach. The proposal is for the council to continue ownership of the land, which was bought several years ago so a pumping station could be located on the site. The station is fenced off at the front of the property.
For the past three years, the boating club has been paying a peppercorn rental on the property so it can store its two tractors and fishing gear, and hold meetings. However the house is run down and deemed unsuitable for permanent habitation.
Club president Trevor Hunter says if the club can buy the buildings, members will refurbish them.
“At the moment we can’t do anything with them because we don’t own them,” he says. “It will take a bit of money to buy them – hopefully not too much – and we’ve got the skills among our members to fix things up.”
He would like a long-term lease on the land so the club can finally have a permanent home.
The saga began in 2006, when the club was established. It originally sought permission to have a wash-down area and small building to house the tractors close to the boat ramp at the northern end of Marine Parade. However, there were objections from some locals, so the old skating rink next to the surf club was suggested.
The late David Pritchard donated the services of his Land Matters company to draw up plans and make a submission to the council. There was one local objection, but the issue was complicated when the council could not determine whether it actually owned the whole area along the Ōtaki beachfront. The issue went to Land Information NZ to decide on its status.
Meanwhile, the boating club continued to use members’ properties nearby for storing their gear and for meetings.
“It wasn’t ideal,” Trevor says. “And it was frustrating having to keep going back to the council with ideas that kept getting knocked back for various reasons.
“It wasn’t for a lack of trying. Council staff changed regularly, but [ward councillor] James Cootes has been trying to help us right from the start, and we’ve had good support from the Ōtaki Community Board.
“James and the board have been keen to see this resolved. And to be fair, the council has tried to assist as much as they can. We wouldn’t have got the current premises without their help.”
James hopes a solution has finally been found.
“In the time I’ve worked with the boating club they’ve continually looked at solutions that had the least impact on the environment and community,” he says. “Although a beach frontsite was always preferred, the pump station site, if approved, should serve them well. It’s not uncommon for council to support clubs via leases etc due to the social contribution they make to a community, hence why I have been supporting their request.”
The club hopes to hear about its latest proposal by the end of the year.
Trevor says the club has about 100 members, who enjoy fishing and promoting water safety. It holds an annual fishing competition and is often called on to retrieve vehicles stuck in the sand or to rescue boaties who have got into difficulty.