Residents fight camp ground 'secrecy'
North Shore residents are demanding the future of the Takapuna Beach Reserve and its camping ground be decided in public.
A number of the 79 people who gave oral submissions at last month's hearing into the reserve management plan claimed the public was kept in the dark over the proposed changes, involving removing the camping ground and building a National Ocean Watersports Centre housing Yachting NZ offices, car parking and storage on the site.
''I object to the secrecy that has been kept by the council in planning this Takapuna Beach Management Plan,'' Alan McDonald said.
It has been suggested that the hearings panel holds any deliberations in public to ensure transparency.
The panel is made up of independent commissioner Greg Hill and Devonport Takapuna Local Board members Chris Darby, Dianne Hale, Jan O'Conner, Kevin Schwass and Joseph Bergin.
Team leader of hearings for Auckland Council's democracy services Julie McKee said the decision whether to deliberate in public lies with the hearings panel.
The panel is expected to inform submitters of its decision when it meets this month to hear extended submissions and responses from council officers to questions raised. The hearings panel's job is to make recommendations to the local board who have jurisdiction over the management plan.
The local board is expected to meet in December to resolve any amendments to the plan before it is completed in February. This would coincide with the end of the Takapuna Beach Holiday Park's 10-year lease in March.
Concerns were also raised regarding Takapuna businessman Peter Wall's dual roles as chairman of the Harbour Access Trust, principal backers of the watersports centres, and as a director of Auckland Council Property Limited which administers the holiday park lease. Wall denies any conflict of interest.
''I was aware of negotiations being run by council officers at ACPL regarding the campground lease but was not involved in them .''