Council to charge fees for applications to lease parts of regional parks

Press Release – Wellington Regional Council
The Wellington Regional Council is to introduce fees to cover the often high cost of processing applications to lease parts of its parks.

At a meeting today of the social and cultural wellbeing committee, councillors voted unanimously in favour of a fees schedule. The policy proposal will now go out for public consultation.

Committee chair Nigel Wilson said the present arrangement was in effect forcing ratepayers to subsidise the private advantage of some commercial operators.

“We’ve had at least half a dozen very complex applications in the last year or so that have required hundreds of hours of officers’ time – and all we have been able to charge is a single lodgement fee of $175.

“One application last year, to restore the Rimutaka incline as a tourist attraction, took more than 300 hours of officers’ time, plus numerous public notices and administration costs, which added up to well in excess of $20,000.”

Mr Wilson said the new fees would be very similar to those charged by the Department of Conservation and other councils, but would still not fully recoup processing costs.

A non-notified resource consent application would require a deposit of $1,610 and a notified application $5,106. Officers’ time would be charged at $110 an hour.

He said the regional council would reserve the right to waive the fees. This would be useful if non-profit or charitable organisations lodged applications.

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