On learning that the regional council is eyeing Bob’s boatshed and slipway as the future water access for the harbourmaster’s boats and jet skis, Waterline went along to the shed and contacted the current owner, Bob Murray.
He’s not ready to give it up.
“The regional council has been trying to get me out of that shed for years,” says Bob. “I’ve got a lease from the city council on that shed.
“I’ve had that shed for 30 years. The regional council have got a bombastic attitude about the whole thing. Accused me of all sorts of things over the years, they have been trying to move me out of there for a long time.
“It’s between me and the city council really.”
Meanwhile the regional council isn’t saying much at the moment, but might be more forthcoming in March.
The shed’s origins are connected to the building that is now the Harbourside restaurant; the former Tauranga Yacht and Power Boat Club. The slipway was used to haul out their yachts, say Bob. But the slipway itself he believes is older than the shed.
The hand cranked winch is original, but he never used it, preferring to use the winch as the anchor point for a block and a cable that he connected to the Massey Ferguson tractor - that also used to be stored in the back of the shed. Connect cable to tractor, drive off along The Strand - and the boats would be hauled out.
He extended the cradle himself when he needed the extra length for his new 30ft boat and lends it out to a few boating mates whose vessels occupy the moorings south of the railway bridge.
“I took the wheels off the old one. The tractor’s always been here,” says Bob.
A bit like the land itself. It just sort of arrived. There was no title when Bob took over the property, and the city council eventually produced a title for part of it, but the land out the back is still free parking because it was originally an illegal reclamation and ownership is moot.
“Alf Walling used to park all his trucks in here when they were building the wharf,” says Bob. “And sometime they used to come back with little bits left, and he used to dump it off here.
“That’s why there’s no title. There was no title on this. Recently the city council put a section title on it, a section with shed valued at $250,000. But I’m not allowed to build on it.
“I stayed here for years and didn’t pay the city council or anybody.” Bob says the area was reclaimed by Alf Walling dumping material.
The old slipway.
It can been seen in the variety of material along the waterfront near the slip. Large blocks of brickwork, some concrete and a bunch of large rocks nearest the slip itself. The rocks were put there after some of the reclaimed land near the slip way was washed out in a storm.
“People come and steal these rocks,” says Bob.
But they are the wrong material for the job. Smaller rocks and a bit of concrete would do a better job, in Bob’s opinion.
He planted a couple of pohutukawa trees on the reclamation and mows the grass. The tree on the other side of the shed he keeps pruned because it is directly under the power lines.
With the title came a right-of-way on paper, now occupied by the Harbourside’s skip bins and the vehicle of one of the regional council’s employees.
It’s by agreement. The restaurant also uses the shed for storage. There’s a surf ski hanging from the rafters, someone else keeps a dinghy there and Bob’s runabout is on a trailer.
“I never used for commercial, I have some friends that use it. They pay for the power and the water. It’s a mates’ thing,” says Bob.
“Because I have looked after that area always kept it clean, mown the grass, we’ve had a good relationship (with the city council) but Environment BOP, I can tell you some things that they have tried to do to me and it’s not very nice. It’s them getting at me.
One young fella that’s parking his car alongside that green shed which I own, works for Environment BOP. He’s parking his car there for nothing.
“People at the restaurant share the shed allow them use to excessive gear Quite a lot of boys that own boats out there they park their dinghies in the shed. No charge just good neighbours.”
The 84 year old keeps a runabout in the shed so he can take the grandchildren fishing, but he’s found advancing arthritis has forced him to sell the launch. Bob became concerned he could no longer jump through a hatch – an incapacity that in an emergency that he feels might endanger the lives of his fishing buddies.
The Bay of Plenty regional Council General Manager Corporate Performance Mat Taylor says specific questions about the boatshed and ramp cannot be answered as they are on TCC property.
There will be a media briefing in mid March, when the BOPRC planning phase will have reached a point where it will have some things to talk about.