Standoff at Tuna Place

KERI MOLLOY
Last updated 05:00 24/01/2013
Tuna PLace

TUNA PLACE RESERVE: The reserve is traditionally used as a village green for informal recreation. It is also GPS registered with NZ Surf Life Saving as the only safe year-round landing zone for rescue helicopters.

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A bitter fight at Taupo Bay over a proposal to develop a tennis court and clubhouse on a recreational reserve is costing ratepayers dearly.

The case, dating back four years, goes to an Environment Court appeal hearing in March.

The Taupo Bay Progressive Association obtained consent to develop a tennis court, clubroom and car parks on Tuna Place Reserve but residents disputed the right to develop a public reserve.

The case has cost the Far North District Council $119,275 in legal fees to November 2012, excluding GST, while the cost to the appellants is about $120,000 before the appeal hearing, resident Caryn Nigro says.

An appeal against resource consent is to be heard between March 11 and 18 in Paihia.

Mrs Nigro and Taupo Marae Trustees are the appellants.

The Far North District Council issued a certificate of compliance to the association for the construction of a 650 square metre tennis court and associated facilities. But Mrs Nigro thought the proposal breached several rules in the district plan and sought declarations from the Environment Court.

The court ruled that the activity authorised in the certificate wasn't a permitted activity under the district plan.

However the association stuck to its guns.

The ruling didn't mean the association couldn't build its tennis court, it just couldn't rely on the certificate of compliance to do it.

Those opposed to the tennis court development put signs up to say "preserve the reserve" and signed a petition opposing the development and associated litigation.

Tuna Place Reserve, described by residents as a "village green" is a flat, two-tiered grass area at the southern end of Marlin Dr. It's adjacent to Maori land and links with esplanade reserves that run along a stream.

In the meantime, the Far North District Council is continuing discussions with the association over various resource consent processing costs still owed to the council, amounting to $5000.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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