Marina floats our boat


Stage two of the $20 million Frankton Marina – only officially opened late last year – is likely to start earlier than expected given the interest to date.

Lakes Marina Projects partner Alan Kirker says the number of inquiries for the 85 berths in stage one’s already outstripped supply.

While he and American partners Iraj and Nasser Barabi had about 10 years from the date of consent to crack on with the remaining 100-odd berths, “we’ll sit down and look next month and possibly start to look at stage two coming on track earlier”.

Kirker says about two-thirds of the inquiries are from local residents with the rest coming from people who have property in the Wakatipu but don’t live here.

One boat – brand new, from Sweden, identical to one which arrived at the marina in November – was bought by people who “didn’t know the front of the boat from the back of the boat” but decided to invest in one on the back of the facility.

“We thought ‘if we build it, they will come’ and that’s what’s happening, which is great.”

The lease for an 8-metre berth’s about $8000 a year, plus GST and operating expenditure.

Kirker says some think that’s pricey, while others consider it a bargain.

“There’s an American chap I know that spends six months of the year in town, he’s got [a berth] on Lake Tahoe … it’s four times that amount in Lake Tahoe.

“It just depends on who the person is, what their bank balance looks like and what their job is.”

Inquiries from potential commercial tenants of the four under-construction floating sheds are also “mind-blowing”, but they want to take their time to make sure they’ve got the right mix going in.

Kirker says the next challenge for the partners is to “keep [the marina] exciting”.

“Iraj made a comment to one of the council men six months ago and said feels like a 10-year pregnancy and now we’re about to give birth to this thing’.

“And I said ‘you know what the hardest thing is now? We’ve got to keep it alive’.”