New sailing centre proposed for Takapuna
Yachting New Zealand's plans to build a National Ocean Water Sports Centre in the Auckland seaside suburb of Takapuna are being stymied by supporters of a well-known 80-year-old campground.
The new high-performance centre has the backing of Auckland Council, who have earmarked a site on Takapuna's waterfront and tagged $3 million of ratepayers money to help develop the project. But the land currently leased by the Takapuna Holiday Park has been a camping ground since the early 1930s, and some locals are up in arms.
Yachting New Zealand wants to create a facility "that will be the equivalent of the Weymouth base that helped Great Britain attain such success at the 2012 London Olympics". The aim is to turn out more world champion sailors in the same way Lake Karapiro's National Training Centre has helped Kiwi rowers.
It will also create a public reserve where other water sports, like kayaking, canoeing and waka ama, can have better access to the water.
The strategy has the support of Olympic 470 gold medallist Jo Aleh. "Actually having somewhere to base ourselves, at the NOWSC facility in Takapuna, would make a huge difference - not just to everyone in the NZL Sailing Team, but also all of the young up-and-coming sailors. They would finally be able to not only train with us, but be around New Zealand's top sailors to watch and learn from the best we have to offer," Aleh said in a YNZ statement.
In a bid to seal the deal with council, YNZ is asking for public submissions in favour of the NOWSC going ahead at Takapuna.
"We run the risk of losing this opportunity to a small, vocal pressure group aiming to retain an out-of-date campsite on this preferred location in Takapuna," YNZ states.
Submissions to the draft Takapuna Beach Reserve Management Plan will be heard by the Takapuna Devonport Local Board of Auckland Council in October. Written submissions close on September 11. YNZ is also hoping to gain support through social media, creating a NOWSC page on Facebook.
The holiday park owners and discontented local residents have also set up a Facebook page, which has more than 3700 supporters.