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Published: 2003-10-17 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is holding a hui with Coromandel and Hauraki iwi next week to discuss whether it should charge for occupation of the Coastal Marine Area.

All regional councils are required to make a decision on whether they will charge for occupation of the sea by activities such as moorings, marine farms, jetties and marinas. The Council is asking for people’s views on whether it should charge a form of ‘rental’ for using public areas for private uses.

Environmental Planner Graeme Silver told this week’s Policy Committee meeting that a brochure had been distributed to organisations and individuals and information put on the website about the issue. It would be meeting with iwi and sector groups.

The Council wants to raise awareness of the issue, talk to the community, develop a charging regime if it decided to charge and co-ordinate with other regional councils to maintain consistency. It was meeting with Northland, Auckland and Bay of Plenty councils to investigate a joint approach and would draft a document for consultation by December or January.

The Government’s proposals for foreshore and seabed ownership had delayed the original timeline. The issue was making it difficult to engage with Maori groups on occupation charges, he said.

Staff from the various councils had reached an agreed understanding of the purpose of occupation charges and the nature of public and private benefits, and guidelines may be developed for a joint approach.

Deputy Chair Jenni Vernon said the Council needed to work with the community even though it was time consuming.

“There is some helpful information coming in and this is why we achieve sustainable results where others don’t.