Board at loss over promises

LIZ WILLIS
Last updated 05:00 26/11/2013

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Election promises to residents on Takapuna campground are proving hard for politicians to keep.

Devonport-Takapuna Local Board was forced to confront the controversial issue at its first meeting because of an Auckland Council officer's report.

The report urged decisions on the Takapuna Beach Reserve concept plan process - a detailed guide for future use of beachfront land, including the campground.

But Takapuna Beach Holiday Park is among issues officers say can't be addressed.

Principal policy analyst Nicki Malone says that's because the campground isn't mentioned in the Takapuna Beach Reserve Management Plan that required a concept plan.

Board member Grant Gillon was surprised to see the concept plan on the first agenda. He says there seem to be barriers preventing a change of heart on the campground issue.

But the board needs to be mindful of the huge public support for keeping it and search for new options.

The November 19 board meeting voted to get more information before making any decisions.

Division among newly elected board members was highlighted with chairman Mike Cohen forced to use his casting vote to break a 3/3 deadlock.

Dianne Hale, Joseph Bergin and Allison Roe wanted the board to push ahead with the process.

But Mr Cohen, Grant Gillon and Jan O'Connor said key information was missing. Ms O'Connor said they should see National Ocean Water Sports Centre proposals for the campground site before making any decisions.

Mr Cohen wanted more information on the council's agreement with the Harbour Access Trust over NOWSC.

Council officers struggled to answer some of the councillors questions.

Kim Brown, acting manager Community Policy and Planning North, said she thought the agreement mentioned The Strand as the location for NOWSC.

Ms Brown understood the agreement was on hold and that someone need to re-establish contact with the trust. Officers hadn't seen new NOWSC plans to her knowledge.

Mrs Hale said seeking clarification in private wasn't having an open public debate on the issue.

She said the management plan allows the northern reserve to be used for boat storage if NOWSC plans eventuate.

Mrs Hale said it shouldn't delay decision making on the concept plan.

Mr Cohen said board members had strong views on the issue but he believed it could reach agreement on a concept plan process in a month's time.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Cohen said the information sought by the board would be public and debate would be in the open.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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