Keeping campground is top priority for councillor

BIG PLAN: Concept drawings for the proposed National Ocean Watersports Centre on Takapuna Beach Reserve.
BIG PLAN: Concept drawings for the proposed National Ocean Watersports Centre on Takapuna Beach Reserve.

Keeping the Takapuna Beach campground is the number one priority for North Shore councillor George Wood. 

He has followed the heated debate on the Takapuna Beach Reserve Management Plan with interest.

“At this stage I’m just an interested onlooker but I would be surprised if the campground was closed,” Wood said.

“It would be going against all of the community it seems.” 

The former mayor of North Shore city supported the original proposal for the National Ocean Watersports Centre when it was positioned on The Strand but could not comprehend why it was moved to the campground site.

“This is something that has happened between Yachting New Zealand, the local board and council officers. It seems like there must be other reasons than just the Telecom cable that needs to be moved.”

 Wood suggested if the $500,000 cost was the only issue with the original site then a compromise could be looked at in terms of funding.

“I’ve always had a soft spot for the campground and for me keeping it would be the number one priority.

“I was very surprised to hear that they were planning to put Yachting NZ offices down on the beach reserve.”

Wood also has concerns about the impact removing the campground could have for council revenue streams.

Owners of the Takapuna Beach Holiday Park pay more than $160,000 per year in rent.

“In the current financial climate it wouldn’t be smart to discard the motorcamp,” Wood said.

“The economy in Takapuna has always been pretty fragile and I do not want to see that compromised.”

Councillor Ann Hartley said it was more important to see the public getting more green space if the campground was removed.

Hartley said the council was increasing camping spaces in the region from 1700 to 2500 by expanding the size of grounds like the one in Wenderholm.

Neither Wood nor Hartley are involved in any decision making regarding the management plan.

A hearings panel made up of independent commissioner Greg Hill and members of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board, excluding Mike Cohen, is charged with making recommendations regarding the future of the beach reserve.

“The local board must know where the community stands on this matter and hopefully they’ll act accordingly,”  Wood added.

North Shore Times