Boat sheds are normally used to store boats and their associated paraphernalia. But in the Wellington Region, many people have set up home in their sheds to better enjoy coastal life. In the past this practice was low key and councils tended to turn a blind eye to it. But there are not a lot of coastal areas around Wellington and Porirua that are suitable to launch boats from so, by the 1990s, residential use of boat sheds had started to squeeze out the number of boat sheds available for storing boats.
Any sort of building on the foreshore restricts public access to and along that piece of coast. This is contrary to the principles of the Resource Management Act. On top of that, most boat sheds don't have toilets connected to a sewer. The Council now requires resource consents from people wanting to stay in their boat sheds, and is taking enforcement action against those people who break the rules.
The use, development and occupation of any structure (including boat sheds) anywhere in the coastal marine area is controlled in the Regional Coastal Plan. Discharging contaminants to the coastal marine area is also controlled in the Regional Coastal Plan. The words foreshore and water are defined in the Resource Management Act.
Rule 27 of the Regional Coastal Plan requires a coastal permit to use any boat shed for residential purposes, or to use any boat shed for non-water based activities that do not require a coastal location. This is a non-complying activity. The Council cannot grant a consent for living in a boat shed if that would be contrary to the objectives and policies in the plan. Policy 6.2.11 (below)is particularly relevant to boat shed use.
Rule 6 of the Regional Coastal Plan permits the maintenance, repair, replacement, extensions, additions and alterations to a structure (including a boat shed) that lawfully existed on 29 June 1994 and is fixed in, on, under, or over any foreshore or seabed, including any associated disturbance of the foreshore or seabed, provided the activity complies with conditions stated in the rule.
Rule 7 of the Regional Coastal Plan permits the removal or demolition of any structure or any part of a structure that is fixed in, on, under, or over any foreshore or seabed, provided the activity complies with conditions stated in the rule.
Rule 58 and Rule 60 of the Regional Coastal Plan require a coastal permit to discharge human sewage onto land or into water in the coastal marine area. Outside any Area of Significant Conservation Value this is a discretionary activity. Within any Area of Significant Conservation Value this is a non-complying activity.
To prevent the use of boat sheds for residential habitation and for activities which are not associated with the coastal marine area.
Explanation. The residential use and other commercial activities such as offices, restaurants, etc., of boat sheds in the Porirua and Pauatahanui Inlet areas of Porirua Harbour, and at Titahi Bay has been a source of concern over a number of years. Boat sheds are a limited coastal resource and their continued use for water related activities is a sustainable use of this limited resource. Non-water related activities may have significant adverse environmental effects and create demands for carparking, water supply and waste disposal, and also raise other issues such as noise and loss of amenity and character. Accordingly, residential and non-water related activities are considered inappropriate uses of boat sheds.