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Questions raised by council report

MARNIE HALLAHAN
Last updated 08:21 23/10/2012
National Oceansports

SAILING ON: The proposed National Ocean Watersports Centre.

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Submissions on the Takapuna Beach Reserve Management Plan seem to show a slim margin in favour of the National Ocean Watersports Centre, according to an Auckland Council report.

But closer examination raises questions.

The findings of the public submissions regarding the future of Takapuna Beach reserve land were released last week in a report written by Auckland Council's principal policy analyst - community policy and planning, Kim Brown.

A graph provided by the council indicates that almost 50 per cent favour the watersports centre, with about 43 per cent opposing it.

Further analysis by the North Shore Times shows what appear to be miscounts and questionable interpretations.

A total of 1203 submissions were received, of which almost 400 specifically called for the retention of the holiday park.

But a significant number of these submissions were not included in the report's breakdown of "those not in support of the idea of a Marine Activity Hub".

Further submissions in the same vein were interpreted as supporting the provision for motorhomes within the marine hub without evidence this was the case.

Of approximately 500 submissions that did show support for the watersports centre, almost half were on a generic form provided by Yachting New Zealand, a major benefactor of the plan, each counting as individual submissions.

However a petition to "save the campground" with 2037 signatures, generated through the Takapuna Beach Holiday Park, was considered as one submission.

Auckland Council city transformation manager John Dunshea says that this is because the petition was attached to one single submission and so was counted as such.

Despite assurances from local board chairman Chris Darby earlier this year that "nothing is set in stone", it is apparent from the report that Auckland Council is backing the option to turn the northern end of the beach into a marine hub with a metro-style motor home facility.

Regardless of the groundswell of people asking to keep the iconic campground both via submissions and on the Save Takapuna Beach Holiday Park Facebook page, council officers have made it clear that a new lease will not be granted.

Mr Darby, who along with other members of the local board will be one of the final decision-makers regarding the future of the Takapuna Beach Reserve, also said last month that the submissions process is not a numbers game.

The quality of submissions will be taken into account, he says, which includes the evidence included and points made at the oral submissions hearing starting tomorrow.

Mr Dunshea responded to questions from the North Shore Times saying that a significant number of submissions asking to keep the campground did not specifically comment on the marine activity hub, therefore it cannot be assumed that they automatically opposed it.

Officers do not have a preferred option, he says.

In September, the North Shore Times reported that the council watersports centre project leader Craig Myles had "liked" the proposed centre on Facebook.

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In one post, he criticised a North Shore Times story about Facebook support for the Takapuna Beach Holiday Park

See also Letters P6

- North Shore Times

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