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Campground decision disgusts visitors

MARNIE HALLAHAN
Last updated 08:14 19/03/2013
Kevin Schwass and Jan O'Connor
STARK CONTRAST: Kevin Schwass is happy to see the ‘‘dilapidated’’ campground go while Jan O’Connor says the community is clearly in support of it staying put.

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Visitors staying at the Takapuna Beach Holiday Park are "disgusted" by the hearing panel's decision to close the campground, says owner Marius Rothmann.

Mr Rothmann is also offended by what he says are inaccurate comments made by members of the panel during last Thursday's deliberations.

The campground was almost full during the final hearing, he says, despite what panel member Chris Darby says.

Comments made by Kevin Schwass also hit a nerve.

"The holiday park for some time has been dilapidated, the grass is full of fescue and it's basically a fenced-in area," said Mr Schwass.

Campervanning advocate Brendan Waters stormed out of the deliberations after Mr Schwass also made comments on how little business those staying in the caravan park bring into Takapuna.

"I found it very difficult to hear that a business association finds that we are inferior individuals when it comes to shopping, it was absolutely insulting," says Mr Waters.

Mr Schwass expressed doubts about the direct benefits to Takapuna of the holiday park and says you need to "profile the kind of people who stay there."

This is contrary to evidence given during the submissions process by Geoff Ensor of the New Zealand Tourism Industry Association. Mr Ensor spoke in support of the campground and estimates that the 28,000 visitors to the holiday park bring around $5 million to $7m per year into the local economy.

This is the message that Mr Rothmann says he's been trying to get across to the hearings panel.

He is upset that the panel acknowledged the "passionate pleas" of Yachting NZ but turned a blind eye to the even louder ones from campers and the North Shore community.

Dave Booth, the founder of the Save Takapuna Beach Park Facebook page, which has amassed more than 8000 likes, expressed his disappointment at the panel's decision.

"Takapuna has lost its soul, its heritage and its point of difference," he says

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- North Shore Times

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