Clubs get a hole in one

GEORGE GARDNER
Last updated 09:05 05/02/2013
Waiheke Golf Club Members

HEARINGS OUTCOME: Waiheke Golf Club members are looking forward to their lease that will enable the club to develop the course to 18 holes.

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Golfers are celebrating after a hearings panel decided their club deserves a legal lease and said there is "no evidence" to support the argument against an 18-hole course being established.

Waiheke Golf Club president Dawn Riley is "thrilled" with the outcome of submissions, two days of hearings before Christmas, and a day of deliberations last Wednesday.

The hearings panel was formed last year to sort out the lease problems at Rangihoua Park, also known as Onetangi Sports Park.

The leases to the golf club, Waiheke Island Historical Society and Waiheke Island Riding Club were found to be invalid because the former Auckland City Council had not followed the correct legal process.

Panel members - independent commissioner Gerry Rowan and Waiheke Local Board members Faye Storer, Jo Holmes, Don McKenzie and Jim Hannan - say the golf club is entitled to a lease for the development of an 18-hole course.

"The club can now celebrate and move towards that," Ms Riley says.

The panel has decided the primary wetlands at the park will be put under the charge of Auckland Council.

This means boundaries to the golf club lease land will be reset.

Ms Riley says with the obligation of maintaining the wetlands and financing that gone, the club can use the funds for the development of the course.

The future of the historical society is also secure and it will be entitled to a new lease.

But because the riding club expressed an openness to moving location, it will be offered a five-year lease on existing reserve land during which discussions can take place to find it a better suited site.

The panel has decided a lease should be given to the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust so it can build a permanent helipad in the park for emergency services use.

Public access to the park has also been addressed with better signage, maps and boundaries recommended.

New boundaries and leases must be drawn up and given to the Minister of Conservation Nick Smith for "prior consent" to make the leases legal.

Until this happens, a memorandum of understanding allows the clubs to stay where they are.

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