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Moved Cheltenham Beach pontoon ‘still too far out’

Flagstaff Team

Still out there… the Cheltenham Beach platform in the new position deemed safe by council, though resident Claes Gibel disagrees 

The Cheltenham Beach pontoon was initially moored in the wrong place, Auckland Council has admitted, but a local resident believes its new location still poses a drowning risk for children. 

Council contractors mistakenly placed the pontoon around 20 metres further from shore than specified by its resource consent. They moved it to the correct position at the beginning of December, said council operations manager for Devonport Sarah Jones. 

But long-time Cheltenham resident Claes Gibel believes it still too far out, and much more difficult to reach than it used to be. He said that teenagers can easily swim to the platform but that younger children still might struggle. 

“This platform should bring safe enjoyment to all kids, not just teenagers and older.” 

Gibel first notified the council about the pontoon placement late last month. Jones said council “must place the pontoon in the area outlined in the resource consent and moving it closer to shore would reduce the amount of water under the pontoon at low tide”. 

She said the pontoon was now in a “safe and accessible location” but that the exact position may be different from where it was last year. 

Gibel said the water level under the pontoon at low tide didn’t matter, as the bay was almost completely level all the way out. The council reasoning showed those responsible hadn’t visited Cheltenham or even seen pictures of it at low tide. “In this particular bay regardless of where you put the platform it will sit on the bottom at low tide.” 

He said the platform could be half as far from the beach without any adverse effects. 

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