Private lease preferred, but not caravans, for Takapuna Beach's controversial campground
An independent commissioner is recommending the Takapuna Beach campground be leased for 30 years to a private operator and get spruced-up.
The Devonport-Takapuna Local Board appointed Gerald Rowan to consider more than 1244 submissions on a public notice proposing the lease, and make recommendations back to the board.
The future of the beachfront campground has been hotly contested over the past seven years, since Yachting New Zealand moved to build a sailing facility on the site.
Of the submissions, 978 supported leasing the grounds while 265 registered opposition.
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"Whether supporting the lease proposal, or opposing it, submitters are agreed on one thing; they are tired of the endless debate and lack of affirmative action," Rowan wrote in the report.
Rowan recommends the board confirm its intention to lease the campground for the term proposed in the public notice, 20 years, with a 10-year right of renewal.
His other recommendations included provisions for upgrading the ground in any lease documentation, such as removing the caravans on the site, relocating the ground's entry and limiting the length of stay.
Rowan said the coastal boundary line could be pulled back by five metres to allow a coastal pathway for the public.
He noted the issue had roused a lively, passionate and, at times, emotional response from local residents.
Rowan felt there was cause for concern as some of the comments in the submissions showed confusion and, in some cases, a "lack of real understanding" around the proposal.
"One can only speculate about whether this is the result of poor information-sharing by the council, uninformed conjecture by some of those involved in the process of vigorous campaigning, or an intentional dissemination of false information," he wrote.
Devonport-Takapuna local board member George Wood said he welcomed the report.
"I think it's a very balanced and well constructed response, which I hope we can really embrace as a board and move the whole thing forward fairly quickly."
He said the commissioner's experience in the area and familiarity with the Camping-Grounds Regulations of 1985 had lead to solid recommendations.
He believed the board would now put out an expression of interest.
"I hope we do get some competition in the market place."
The local board will consider the report at the next business meeting on Tuesday, September 19.
The commissioner will attend the meeting to answer questions as will council staff from Panuku Development Auckland and the Land Advisory Unit team.