Auckland's Takapuna Beach campground controversy comes to a close

More than 1200 submissions were made on the campground earlier in the year, before the board made a final decision about ...

More than 1200 submissions were made on the campground earlier in the year, before the board made a final decision about the future of the site.

A community's fight to save an urban campground on the foreshore of Auckland's Takapuna Beach is finally over. 

The Devonport-Takapuna Local Board met on Tuesday night to discuss recommendations made by an independent commissioner to move forward with plans to lease the campground to a private operator for a 20-year period, with a 10-year right of renewal.

The six board members voted unanimously to confirm the lease proposal, putting to bed years of contention and debate around the site.

The board will now work with Panuku Development Auckland to develop expressions of interest documentation. It is expected to be completed and released for public tender by the end of October.

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A lease is likely to be awarded to an operator by the end of March next year.

The board's decision will come as a relief to many in the community.

Gerald Rowan, the commissioner appointed to hear public submissions on the site and make recommendations, said it was clear the community was tired with inaction.

The future of the beachfront campground has been up in the air since 2012, when the local board endorsed a draft management plan on the Takapuna Beach Reserve.

At this stage, Yachting New Zealand moved to build a sailing facility on the land. 

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A fierce community debate ensued, until a plan was put forward to upgrade the park and turn it into an authentic Kiwi seaside holiday experience, at a board workshop last year.

Board chair Grant Gillon said he was happy the board could finally provide the public with certainty over the site.

"I'm hopeful, in fact confident, this is the beginning of the end of the process, we can move forward and put the whole thing to rest," he said.

Board member Jan O'Connor said there was a silver lining to the drawn out debate.

"What we have out of it, is a community which we didn't have before."

The decision was met with a smattering of applause from a handful of community members who had come to see the matter come to an end.

 - Stuff

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