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Campground backed

MARNIE HALLAHAN
Last updated 05:00 26/02/2013
wood
George Wood

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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.

"It would be going against all of the community it seems," Mr Wood says.

The former mayor of North Shore city supported the original proposal for the National Ocean Watersports Centre when it was positioned on The Strand. He says it's difficult to 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," he says.

Mr Wood suggests that if the $500,000 cost is 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," he says.

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

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

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

"In the current financial climate it wouldn't be smart to discard the motorcamp," Mr Wood says.

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

But councillor Ann Hartley says it's more important to see the public getting a lot more green space if the campground is removed.

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

Neither Mr Wood nor Mrs 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," Mr Wood says.

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