One consideration to keep in mind when thinking about the Sea Scout programme and the Mapua waterfront development. Sea scouts and similar small boat sailing/kayaking/rowing clubs are one thing, public access powerboat and trailer parking are entirely different.
Small boat/youth training programmes and clubs have very different resource “ requirements” , substitution possibilities for their activities are easier/cheaper to find, and they very different amenity impacts on the surrounding area. Taking one boat at a time, think about a 2 m Optimist yacht on a hand trolley vs a 7m powerboat towed by a 5m SUV . Take 20 boats at a time and….you get the picture.
Aren’t youth water craft training programmes worthwhile? Of course. Many existing yacht clubs have well developed youth sailing programmes. for example , Nelson.
Nelson is typical – youth boating/sailing endeavours are not usually stand-alone entities with their own facilities. Of course they might have a stand alone facility if they have a wealthy patron, but normally not. It costs too much relative to the benefits created. Similarily with any sea scout endeavour, or land scouts for that matter – they usually share facilities or at best have an add-on to a larger existing community facility.) . In Mapua a small clubhouse facility on with a small hand trolley ramp is/would be more than enough for a sea scout facility – and fit in with a public access walking/swimming recreational use of the remaining green space (Grossi point or Waterfront Park) area as well. But Nelson is pretty decent alternative – and, since most high school kids go to nelson or richmond, (we’re still to small to have our own high school for education generally ), one can’t argue it’s too far away in terms of relative transport costs.
The Nelson example is apropos for two other reasons. First – it illustrates a key idea about youth sailing programmes – they hitchhike along on established boat clubs, which themselves hitchhike along established harbours. These are cost complementarities. Mapua may have had those in the past with commercial shipping of fruit out of the estuary, and when there were effectively no competing commercial or tourist uses for foreshore land. That time is gone. Those supporting facilities are gone – they are now in Nelson. Second, we all know what the answer would be to a proposal to put powerboat ramp launching and parking facilties in at the Nelson Yacht club, or at Tahunanui Beach. No, Na, Non, Nee, nyet, Nope….and for all the same reasons that are applicable here. The powerboat access problem IS a Nelson Tasman wide problem and won’t , and shouldn’t , be solved, with a knee jerk reaction to use scarce foreshore resources in Mapua.
Perhaps a wealthy foreshore owner patron on the Mapua lagoon or on either side of grossi point or the Wharf would gift some of their land, and access to the Sea Scouts. Not going to happen you say? Probably true, but if ordinary private folk don’t want to subsidise and build a sea scout facility on their foreshore property, because they have more valuable uses for it, why is TDC even considering it?
That brings up the question – who is going to foot the bill? A stand alone sea scout club and may be too expensive for mapua and region ratepayers to want to provide – just as a local high school or sports ground facility might be. But the direct costs are not really the relevant costs – what is relevant are the opportunity costs – the “values” lost or gains by taking the community down one path or another.
The answer is obvious – its because the TDC “owns” the land but doesn’t bear the direct costs, or benefits, of allocating it to different uses. A classic public good problem …So … we have the lolly scramble – or do we? No – that’s why the new consultants need to focus on – stopping the lolly scramble by special interest groups, and get a handle on the values created in alternative uses – across a whole spectrum of stakeholders , now, ten years from now, and even 50 years from now.
Many of these “values” are subjective – recreational and play and “ambience” values are usually like that. But thats what its all about – creating “value” for end users. Subjectivity that doesn’t mean those values can’t be considered, and quantified – health and environmental economists have been doing that for decades. Yes you can imagine a local Tasma-Nelson n resident heading out of the Mapua arm of the estuary on their boat for some fishing.. Yes you can imagine the teens and kids , grandparents and families, solo mums and dads, in a an upgraded play/recreation park having picnics and BBQs or doing yoga in a green space, or the Great Taste Trail visitors stopping to relax and wander,. And yes you can imagine – and measure – the income for artists and accommodation providers and cycle tour companies and coffee/resrauarnts/bakeores, ….al the businesses where ordinary folk in a small village make their living from growing tourism. Do the math. Would 4000 visitors a day in peak period be willing to pay the price of a coffee, $5, to maintain a pristine waterfront view on the waterfront park? If so, that fail amenity values is worth at least $80,000. Try the same exercise for other values/uses? It’s a willingness to pay test – simple, effective.