The developers of a new 186-berth marina planned for Waiheke Island in the Haruki Gulf east of Auckland are in court this week, facing local opposition to the project.

Kennedy Point Boatharbour Ltd was granted permission for the marina last May by Auckland City Council, but it has caused considerable local opposition over environmental and other concerns which have resulted in the court case. The case is being heard in the Environment Court, which previously rejected plans for other new marinas on Waiheke Island.

In response to the opposition, Mark Schmack, designer of Kennedy Boatharbour, claims that the unique design of the marina will cause no environmental damage. Schmack has a track record in marina design and construction, having been involved in the development of several marinas in Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere.

The planned marina is based on a 7.3-acre site in Putiki Bay on the island. It would include a mix of berths, including a number for superyachts, and 30 for day visitors. In giving permission last year, Auckland Council stated that the developers had addressed environmental issues. The developers did change the rock breakwater for wave attenuators to try and overcome the claims about potential environmental damage.

Commenting to local media, Tony Mair, who heads up Kennedy Boatharbour, said: “In my 35 years of marina development, I have never seen a more appropriate site. The water is deep, avoiding the need for dredging, and the coastline is already modified. The design is also unique – like Waiheke – with all structures, including the car park, marina office, community building, breakwaters and marina fingers floating."

Kennedy Boatharbour has declined to make any comment ahead of the court case.