Cruise ships berthing in Akaroa will contribute more this summer towards the costs of maintaining the area’s public amenities.
Christchurch City Council has decided to add an ‘amenity cost contribution’ to its cruise ship fees this summer, meaning overall fees for berthing in Akaroa Harbour will increase by nine per cent.
The fee increase is designed to help the Council recoup more of the additional costs it incurs due to increased demand on the region’s public amenities, like toilets, during the cruise season.
The small township of Akaroa has become a busy cruise ship destination since the earthquakes damaged the wharf facilities at Lyttelton, forcing cruise ship companies to find alternative places to berth.
While cruise ship visits over the past few years have brought significant economic benefits to local businesses, they have also put pressure on the town’s amenities and infrastructure, particularly its public toilets.
The Council is about to spend $630,000 on replacing the ageing block of public toilets on Rue Jolie, behind the Akaroa Service Centre, with a new block of toilets.
The Council is also currently in the process of looking at how it can upgrade Akaroa’s main wharf so that it better meets the community’s needs.
Council Citizens and Community General Manager Brent Smith says the fees that cruise ships will be charged this summer are more reflective of the additional expenditure that is required in Akaroa because of their visits.
“The additional costs of providing adequate toilet facilities for cruise ship passengers is the major cost the Council has been covering, with additional cleaning and temporary toilets required at times. Now we can meet these costs without it becoming a ratepayer burden, freeing up funds to be spent on other needed maintenance in the community’’ Mr Smith says.
Richard Carvalho, Cruise Operations Manager for Cruise Ship Agent ISS McKay, agrees the contribution is a good outcome.
“Agreeing this cost contribution from visiting cruise operators reflects the commitment to a strong relationship with the Akaroa community,'' Mr Carvalho says.