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Published: 2001-06-29 00:00:00

The rules for safety on the water change from July 1 – but boaties will still go to the same authorities for information.

The Local Government Amendment Act (No. 2) and changes to the Maritime Transport Act 1994 shifted responsibility for navigation safety from District Councils to the Regional Council from July 1, 2000.

Since then both Thames-Coromandel District Council and Environment Waikato have been working to develop an integrated service. This allows the District to focus on providing a public service using their wharves and jetties and the Regional Council on providing navigational safety services.

A new Regional Council bylaw contains the detailed rules under which the navigation and safety service is provided and how public use of waterways is regulated. This has been through a special order process and was adopted on April 26, coming into effect on July 1.

A new bylaw has also been developed by the District Council to control their facilities. The Wharves and Coastal Structures Bylaw 2001 was adopted by District Council on June 27 and comes into effect from 5 July.

Environment Waikato spokesman David Pearks and Thames-Coromandel District Council spokesman John Whittle say services provided in the Thames-Coromandel District Council area would continue to be provided by the same staff in the same way. The only change would be the new rules.

“The Regional Council has always considered that the service has to be provided at a local level by staff who have experience in navigation safety and have local knowledge. Co-ordination of the function over the whole Region is best provided from the Hamilton office,” says David Pearks.

One of the major areas that will be affected is responsibility for mooring registration, which will transfer from the District to the Region. From July 1, the Regional Council will be responsible for control of moorings, including applications for new moorings or transfer of existing moorings.

Also from July 1 the current Harbourmasters will transfer to Environment Waikato’s employ with Environment Waikato contracting back to Thames-Coromandel District Council to provide marine facilities management services for District Council owned structures.