Call for transparency

Submitters are continuing to fight for transparency around the contentious Takapuna Beach Reserve Management Plan.

The hearings panel is now being asked to hold its deliberations in public.

A number of the 79 people who gave oral submissions at last month's hearing spoke of their concern that the public was kept in the dark over drastic changes proposed 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 says.

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 says the decision whether to deliberate in public lies with the hearings panel. The panel is expected to inform submitters of its decision when it reconvenes 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.

An indicative time frame from the council states that the local board will meet in December to resolve any amendments to the plan with the adoption of the final completed plan in February 2013. This would coincide with the end of the Takapuna Beach Holiday Park's 10-year lease in March 2013.

Concerns were also raised regarding Takapuna businessman Peter Wall's dual roles as chairman of the Harbour Access Trust, principal backers of NOWSC, and as a director of Auckland Council Property Limited which administers the holiday park lease. Mr 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."

North Shore Times