UPDATED: Less Strong Support For Torpedo Bay Ferry Service

Posted by on Nov 02, 2010 | 6 Comments

The Speculator’s online straw poll of opinions on the possibility of a ferry service from Auckland central to Torpedo Bay wharf has produced an unequivocal result; 70% support the idea. However, this majority has shrunk slightly with a recent surge of more votes, from 74%.

ScreenHunter_44 Nov. 07 20.32

The sample size is not huge as you can see; so we might call it indicative rather than representative. However, we’ll leave the survey up, so if you haven’t responded you can do so. Find it here.

Also note that we outlined a couple of assumptions. Firstly, we asked people to assume an hourly service, to test tolerance for the idea at a level that is in excess of what is likely to be implemented (the current proposal is for three sailings a day). One could perhaps assume therefore, that if the current proposal were adopted, support for the service might be even higher.

Secondly, given the confusion around the actual legal status of the wharf vis-a-vis ferry services we asked people to assume for the moment that it was not unlawful for ferries to berth there.

Discussions and feedback The Speculator has had on the issue suggest those agin the ferry are concerned by the following:

– A ferry using the terminal presents a danger to swimmers using the wharf for recreational purposes;
– It was not originally supposed to be given commercial operational status, and this has somehow snuck into the wharf’s terms and conditions;
– The wharf itself is not currently in  a suitable condition for commercial use.

In response, those in favour argue;

– Swimmers and ferries currently share the Stanley Bay wharf, with no incidences reported of accidents. The ferry can be seen approaching for some time, and generally gives a loud hoot as it gets near the wharf if it sees swimmers;
– A ferry service to this part of Devonport would provide a fillip for tourism and local businesses based over the Cheltenham side of Devonport, as well as easy access to the new Naval Museum;
– The wharf can be repaired and upgraded as required to ensure it is fit for purpose;
– Its status as  a commercial wharf cannot now be overturned; it is up to the community to assess the relative merits of it being used in this way;
– At a time when there is a lot of disquiet about the congestion on Lake Rd, it seems odd to oppose a part solution to the problem.

Some good points are made in the comments below in response to these factors. Be sure to read these too.

The Speculator would like to hear your thoughts on this issue. Have we fully encapsulated the argument? This issue might well be raised at the imminent Devonport-Takapuna Board meeting; a comprehensive body of feedback from the community would be a valuable asset to submit to the Board.

torpedo bay wharf


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  1. Bond says:

    So – with further information it appears this is more a matter of commodifying the wharf for Fullers’ benefit rather than providing localised public transport and discouraging car use. That puts rather a different complexion on it. Seems to me Fullers could use the main wharf in that case, and let the swimmers have their fun. If tourists want to visit North Head etc. surely they can stagger along the waterfront like the rest of us. Yes, free swimming doesn’t make any money for anyone. Good. We need SOME things that have other priorities. I’d like to change my vote to a No…

  2. Innes says:

    Torpedo Bay Wharf is unique among the Harbour’s wharves in that it was built with a large contribution ($300,000) of community funds, and from the time it was built was intended to have no commercial activity, and be used only for recreation.

    Your question should be about the intent of Fullers/360 Discovery tostop at the Wharf 3 times a day, 7 days a week throughout the year, as one stop on the Harbour Discovery Cruise. (not a commuter service whch is what the surveyimplies) Fullers website and pamphlets have advertised this new stop since 1 October 2010, but at no stage was the Community consulted, despite the North Shore City Council records showing a history of trying to have no commerical use of the wharf. The first we heard about Fullers plans was from an article in the Flagstaff 1 October.

    The Devonport Commuity Board called an extraordinary meeting on Ocotber 5, and the majority of locals who were present opposed the plan for ferries, and wish to keep the Wharf ferry-free.

    This is because it is used by lost of people for freedom recreational activities such as swimming, walking and fishing. At the height of the summer hundreds of people are using it each day.

    Fullers expect swimmers to get out of their way when a ferry arrives. They will tie up on the harbour side of the wharf and use a ramp to disembark – which has just appeared chained to the wharf.

    If swimmers do not get out of the way when instructed to do so through a loud hailer, Fullers will call the police.

    This Wharf was not intended for this. The legal situation is unclear, and we have written to the Auckland Council to ask for clarificication on a number of matters.

    If you want ot connect with other people who want to kee Torpedo Bay Wharf ferry-free please contact me innesasher@pl.net

    The Devonport Community Board

  3. Alan Howard says:

    This situation is completely different to that of Stanley Bay wharf.

    Stanley Bay is primarily a ferry wharf with the occasional swimmer. Torpedo bay wharf gets huge amounts of usage by swimmers over the summer, as it is one of the best (and only) recreational wharfs in the Auckland region.

    The issue is not saftey or pragmatics, it is the principle. There is a perfectly usable wharf 10 minutes walk away in Devonport, at which is illegal to swim from.

    Why is making money from tourist ferrys more important than local swimmers using their wharf for its purpose?

  4. Rob Champion says:

    This article fails to recognise that the proposed use of the wharf is for tourists only. It will be one stop of many in the ‘Harbour Cruise’, costing $36.

    Fullers cannot start a commuter service from the wharf because this would be illegal under the current ARC law.

    $300,000 of personal trust money was put into rebuilding the wharf so that it could be used for swimming and recreation ONLY. It should remain this way.

  5. Bond says:

    I wouldn’t have a use for this ferry myself, but I think it’s not a bad idea. The Stanley Bay ferry arrangement works well, and I can imagine a similar timetable being a plus for those on Devo’s ‘other side’. So count me as a yes.

  6. Felicity Timings says:

    I’m afraid a sample size of 65 can’t really be called indicative. This is a self-selected sample, so possibly people who were in favour of the idea were the only ones motivated to respond.

    I disagree. Indicative it can be; representative it is not. – Ed

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