Call for pontoon action

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A group of West Harbour business owners and commercial boat operators are calling for action on the heavily silted Carey’s Bay pontoon.
Only limited use can be made of the 13-metre Dunedin City Council-owned structure, which extends from the Carey’s Bay foreshore into the sheltered water of the bay.
The silt surrounding it means it is almost high and dry at low tide and is deep enough only for smaller boats at high tide.
Carey’s Bay Hotel owner Joanne Kidston and commercial boat operator John McLachlan are leading the call for dredging to remove the silt from around the pontoon to make it more usable in the first instance.
In the longer term, they believe it would be beneficial to extend the pontoon by a few metres to take it into deeper water.
“From half-tide down to low tide the pontoon can’t be used; it comes right out of the water,” Mr McLachlan said.
“And even at high tide the bigger boats, and not particularly big boats at that, have trouble using it,” Mr McLachlan said.
The Carey’s Bay pontoon has been a feature of Otago Harbour for more than 40 years, and silting has been a growing problem in recent years.
Discussions around dredging and possibly extending the pontoon were held in 2009 and, in 2014, Vision Port Chalmers made a submission to the Otago Regional Council calling for maintenance on the pontoon and other harbour structures.
Ms Kidston said those initial discussions had resulted in much discussion and the group had received 150 letters of support for its ORC submission.
“This is clearly an issue that resonates with a lot of the boaties and people keen to see more use made of our beautiful harbour.”