Court battle over yachting centre

18:50, Jan 23 2013
Colin Flavell
FIGHTING FIT: Bayswater's Colin Flavell is taking Auckland Council to court over their delegation of responsibility over the National Ocean Watersports Centre to the Devonport Takapuna Local Board.

Plans to build a national yachting centre on Takapuna's beachfront reserve have hit another hurdle with an objector taking Auckland Council to court.

Bayswater resident Colin Flavell said the council illegally handed over final decision making rights regarding the National Ocean Watersports Centre to the Devonport Takapuna Local Board.

Flavell, who has a website detailing his past battles with the former North Shore City Council and now Auckland Council, said the impact of the decision to build the watersports centre will extend far beyond Takapuna Beach.

Therefore it should be handled by the council, not the local board, he said.

''This isn't just a little domestic thing in our area. 

''When I counted there were over 500 submissions from outside of Takapuna and Devonport, it's a much wider issue.''

Flavell is hoping that through his actions the council will be forced to ''scratch everything'' and embark on a new submissions process using an independent hearings panel.

The hearings panel assigned to make recommendations on the future use of the reserve land as part of the Takapuna Beach Reserve Management Plan is made up of one independent commissioner, Greg Hill, and five local board members.

The board will then make a final decision. Flavell believes this puts it in a compromising position.

''The board is required to advocate for the local community,'' he said.

''Therefore they should have found out what the people wanted and made a submission on behalf of the community, not be the ones making the decisions.''

The council's proposal to reallocate land that has been home to the iconic Takapuna Beach Holiday Park for more than 80 years to Yachting New Zealand for offices, meeting rooms and storage has already had its fair share of controversy.

Residents continue to complain of a lack of transparency from the council regarding the genesis of the plan.

It was revealed last year that council officers made plans to ''convince'' the local board to include only two options in their draft management plan for the area.

Both sited the yachting centre on reserve land and relied on the closure of the popular holiday park.

Analysis of the council's submission report also showed a significant number of submissions specifically calling for the retention of the holiday park were not counted.

Council graphs showed about a 50-50 split of support and opposition to the watersports centre. But half of those in support were on a generic form provided by Yachting New Zealand.

These were each individually counted whereas a petition with more than 2,000 signatures wanting to ''save the campground'' was counted as a single submission.

Flavell said this was exactly the kind of behaviour he wanted the council to be held accountable for.

''This is not a threat, they know from past experience that I'm willing to go all the way to court,'' he said.

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