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The Pilot Bay dinghy debate

Dinghies scattered along the Pilot Bay beachfront could be herded, named and registered if some Tauranga City Councillors have their way.

The resolution to stop the spread of dinghies along the Mount Maunganui beach was defeated at a council meeting this week with councillors instead deciding to explore other options regarding the future of the dinghies.

Tauranga City Council staff will explore future options for the dinghies scattered along Pilot Bay.

Tauranga City Council staff will explore future options for the dinghies scattered along Pilot Bay.

The future of the dinghies has become an issue for council due to their interference with the planned Pilot Bay beachfront walkway, set to be constructed in the next two years.

Council staff counted 68 dinghies along the beach chained up and clumped together in various locations, and they have no idea who owns them.

They do not know who to contact when it comes time to move the dinghies lying within the Queen’s Chain.

The Pilot Bay dinghies appear on every city council publicity photo of Pilot Bay, and their character and visual appeal was also noted by some councillors.

Councillors Larry Baldock and Tony Christiansen led the anti-dinghy brigade, with Tony suggesting the council maintain smaller numbers of dinghies that can be leased to mooring holders.

Tony argued that Pilot Bay dinghies would not be used more than three or four times a year, so a smaller number would easily go around the 40 moored boats in the bay.

Larry says there’s one law for some and one law for others, that if you have salt in your veins you are somehow supposed to be allowed to dump your dinghy on the waterfront, and expect everybody else to put up with it.

“It’s ridiculous,” says Larry.

“Name one other public space where you can dump something and expect it to be there is a year’s time when you come back.”

Bill Faulkner rallied support for the dinghies saying they are an intrinsic part of Pilot Bay. The returns on a registration scheme would not cover the costs and there was no need for council to register them or even to know who owned them.

“The penalty people pay for leaving dinghies there is they get stolen or vandalised,” says Bill.
“It’s a self-regulating thing, if it’s not broken, let’s not fix it.”

When’s Bill’s motion that staff explore options passed, Larry Baldock moved that a registration system be introduced, and that only mooring holders be allowed to leave dinghies in Pilot Bay.

This motion was not passed.

Councillor David Stewart had visions of a huge sledgehammer being used to crack a little nut.

“This has been there for years and years, it is a point of interest for those of us that walk along there and look at the boats,” says David.

“It gives that maritime feeling. If ever there is a place to park your dinghy it is on the side of the beach and harbour. It’s gone on for years and really hasn’t caused any problems.”

David says the boardwalk is the cause of change and the location of the dinghies can be managed without the council having to go to the expense of introducing a registration regime.

“All we need to do is manage the location of the dinghies and there is not so many dinghies that it causes problems. This is what living at the beach is all about, and rightly so.”