No more horses on greens

GEORGE GARDNER
Last updated 09:05 05/02/2013
Waiheke Island Riding Club

BETTER ACCESS: Waiheke Island Riding Club members and other horse riders will be able to access the back of Onetangi Sports Park, also known as Rangihoua Park, without going over the golf course.

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The conflict between horse riders and golfers is set to be resolved once new boundaries, leases and signage are drawn up at Onetangi Sports Park.

The hearings panel formed to sort out the lease issues at the park, also known as Rangihoua Park, wants to put an end to disputes regarding access, not only over the golf club, but to other areas of the park.

Hearings panel chairman Gerry Rowan says not all horse riders are members of the Waiheke Island Riding Club, and the club cannot necessarily be blamed for recent problems regarding horses accessing the golfing greens.

"But views have become rather entrenched in the last couple of years which is not helpful in trying to resolve the situation.

"There's quite a bit of documentation to show the parties have sat down to try to resolve the issues but that process has been interrupted by an occasional adverse event that has caused issues to become hardened."

Waiheke Golf Club president Dawn Riley says one such incident took place at the beginning of the year.

"Two teenage girls rode on to the green on New Year's Day without dismounting their horses and removed the flag out of the hole. When they were approached by a group of four golfers, the girls swore profanities at them."

Mr Rowan says a District Plan provisions court order that horse riding is a permitted activity within the recreation zone "is not a carte blanche to allow horses to access the golf course".

"That message needs to be got out there as some people are pursuing the fact that horse riding is a permitted activity, therefore it means they can do what they like, and that is not the case," Mr Rowan says. "The judge is clear in his order."

The hearings panel, however, has noted there should be better access for horses and the public from the Onetangi Rd through to the back of the park. It has decided a strip of land at least 10 metres wide will create access to resolve this.

Horse riders will be able to get to the bridle trails around the maunga, and up to the back of Trig Hill Rd. Walkers will have a walkway up to 5 metres wide along the southern and eastern boundary of the club.

Signs at the park will also say the park is a public place, and show people where they can and cannot go.

New lease boundaries will be set and, once they are legal, the golf club will have the right to keep horses off the club's lease land.

Ms Riley says: "I'm thrilled for the club that we will finally have closure on the ongoing disputes. I'm so grateful those issues are now behind us and we'll soon be within our legal rights to remove any unpleasantness from the course."

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