Takapuna camp ground victory after Yachting NZ withdraws application
Yachting New Zealand has dramatically abandoned its seven-year effort to build a sailing hard stand on Takapuna beach at the last minute.
All it took was a short email from Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie to Devonport-Takapuna Local Board chairman Joseph Bergin 40 minutes before the start of the July 19 local board meeting.
The email stated that Yachting New Zealand is formally withdrawing its application for landowner consent for a hard stand on Takapuna reserve land.
The local board was to vote on Yachting New Zealand's application that evening.
"Whilst recognising this has been a contentious issue, YNZ believes that more work needs to be done in assessing the viability of a camp ground and hard stand operating together on the Northern Reserve," Abercrombie wrote.
Cheers from the packed viewing gallery in Devonport-Takapuna Local Board chambers went up as the news was relayed.
Yachting New Zealand had applied for lease of 1050sqm of Takapuna reserve land in a joint arrangement with North Shore Waka Ama Incorporated.
In December 2015, Yachting New Zealand failed to obtain a larger lease that would overtake the entire Takapuna Beach Holiday Park for construction of a $8.5 million Community Marine Activity Hub.
The Save Takapuna Beach Holiday Park group had a leading role in galvanising community objection to Yachting New Zealand's proposals.
"The one thing I've got extremely positively out of this whole quite sad episode is to show what a bloody fantastic community we've got here in Devonport-Takapuna," Save Takapuna Beach Holiday Park organiser Gavin Sheehan said at the July 19 board meeting.
Local board members also expressed a mixture of regret and relief.
"Do you believe Yachting New Zealand was interested in one of Winston Churchill's more famous quotes 'don't take no for an answer'?" board member, Jan O'Connor, asked.
In the wake of Yachting New Zealand's withdrawal, the local board resolved not to consider uses of Takapuna beach reserve land again until the expression of interest process for lease of the Takapuna holiday park was completed.
However, if a new land owner consent from Yachting New Zealand did occur at a later date it is unlikely the local board would outright dismiss it.
"We should learn from the history of this," local board deputy chairman Grant Gillon said. "The decisions the board makes in the future will be strongly guided by the wishes of the community as we should always be."
Board member Mike Cohen echoed those statements: "We are really thankful for all those who went the extra mile because too often people feel they can't influence what goes on in local government and give up before they even start. We're really fortunate that you persisted."