Dinghies cluttering Tauranga beauty spot Pilot Bay are to be stored in a more orderly manner.
The city council has asked staff to explore options for the location and storage of the 68 dinghies that were scattered along the bay's foreshore.
But councillors drew the line at registering the owners of the dinghies or insisting that the dinghies must be registered to the owners of boats moored in the bay.
There were wide-ranging views on the issue, with Councillor Catherine Stewart saying the dinghies were part of the beachfront's ambience.
Council park rangers team leader Warren Aitken said the dinghies added to the character of Pilot Bay but some people had to navigate around them. He said the dinghies should be in groups close to where the boats were moored.
"We have no idea who own the dinghies," he said yesterday.
Councillor Larry Baldock was part of the faction which unsuccessfully pushed to align the dinghies with the owners of the moored boats. "I can guarantee that most of the dinghies go out four to five times a year ... people are putting them wherever they like and they are rotting away."
Councillor David Stewart disagreed, saying that if ever there was a place for people to put their dinghy, it was on the beach.
"They have been there for years and they are not causing any problem. All we need to do is manage the storage of the dinghies."
Councillor Murray Guy said the dinghies were a natural part of the environment and he opposed "using a sledge hammer to crack a nut".
Councillor Bill Faulkner called the dinghies an intrinsic part of Pilot Bay's foreshore. If dinghies became derelict, then they could be dealt with under bylaws.
Councillor Bill Grainger said the dinghies were there at the owners' risk and they could be shifted to make the place look neater. But he did not want Pilot Bay to look too clinical, like overseas beaches.
Councillor Tony Christiansen said Pilot Bay was a premier strip of beach and the council should be doing all it could to make it as inviting as possible.