Yachting NZ’s controversial new site
Yachting New Zealand is ‘‘closing in’’ on a controversial sailing facility site on Auckland’s Hibiscus Coast, according to Auckland Council chief executive officer Dean Kimpton.
In an email to Auckland Council on September 19, Kimpton wrote: ‘‘Seems like YNZ is closing in on using the Hammerhead site. [Leaseholder] Jim Speedy is open to it … It will be initial due diligence on what planning constraints might exist so we can advise them as applicant. I don’t want to move too fast in case we go around in circles.’’
The email was obtained through a request under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act and confirms local Hibiscus Coast businessman Jim Speedy as the private leaseholder YNZ is in talks with for a sailing facility.
The Hammerhead site referred to by Kimpton is a 700 square metre grass plot of land right beside the Gulf Harbour ferry terminal which Speedy has secured the lease for. Auckland councillor for the Albany ward John Watson described the Hammerhead land as ‘‘the most valuable land in all of the Hibiscus Coast’’.
NZ’s interest in Gulf Harbour was reported by the North Shore Times (October 11) after six years of controversial attempts to obtain a lease site for a sailing facility on Takapuna Beach.
At the time, fellow Albany councillor Wayne Walker was highly critical of potential behindthe-scenes discussions between Auckland Council and YNZ executives and businessman Speedy.
YNZ abandoned its Takapuna efforts in July, after it failed to obtain land-owner consent from the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board for a 1000sqm lease on Takapuna Beach reserve land. However, the length of time of Auckland Council and YNZ’s interest in Gulf Harbour as a potential sailing facility site was revealed through the recently obtained LGOIMA.
In an email sent on January 21 to Auckland Council development programme lead Catherine Edmeades, Kimpton cites Gulf Harbour as a site worth investigating for a YNZ sailing facility.
In a number of further emails between Kimpton and Edmeades leading up to YNZ’s land-owner consent application to the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board in July, it is clear that Gulf Harbour was being considered as a back up option for a YNZ facility.