Board replies

Central Leader - - LETTERS -

It is com­pletely wrong to sug­gest the lo­cal board wants to ‘‘make [Cham­ber­lain Park] into sports­fields’’ or that it is try­ing to make its mark on the land­scape to sat­isfy its van­ity. Nor has any­one sug­gested re­mov­ing golf from the park, as Mr Cr­erar im­plies.

The board is cur­rently ask­ing lo­cal peo­ple what they want on the park. The end of the op­er­a­tor’s lease last year – when the op­er­a­tor could not con­tinue with the lease – al­lowed us to look at widen­ing the uses of the park and open­ing it up to a wider range of peo­ple than only golfers.

The rea­sons for look­ing at the park are about re­spond­ing to is­sues that peo­ple have raised with us. Our area has Auck­land’s low­est per capita lev­els of open space and the big­gest short­fall in sports­field ca­pac­ity. Neigh­bour­ing ar­eas suf­fer sim­i­larly. Al­bert-Eden has almost one third of the Auck­land re­gion’s short­fall. That’s as much as the en­tire north and south of Auck­land put to­gether.

This prob­lem is only go­ing to get worse be­cause of an­tic­i­pated pop­u­la­tion growth.

Our parks are too small, and the sports­fields too close to res­i­dents, to al­low more than a hand­ful of sports­fields to be up­graded for greater use. Plac­ing sports­fields on the park would mean fewer lo­cal kids miss­ing out on sport.

Mr Cr­erar also seems to have over­looked that the pos­si­ble uses sug­gested for feed­back in­clude learn-toplay golf fa­cil­i­ties and a driv­ing range as well as a short course. (There’s another pub­lic course in Taka­puna too.) This is partly why NZ Golf, which has a strate­gic view of the fu­ture of golf, sup­ported th­ese pro­pos­als.

We have yet to es­tab­lish how much of the park is ‘nat­u­ral’, and how much con­structed 75 years ago. There may be rel­a­tively lit­tle heavy ma­chin­ery re­quired. But, again, the pos­si­bil­i­ties sug­gested in­clude restor­ing some of the park to a nat­u­ral state, with plant­ings of na­tives, pro­vid­ing an area where peo­ple could walk, cy­cle and ex­er­cise their dogs. Thus the pro­pos­als are sup­ported by lo­cal en­vi­ron­men­tal groups.

Fi­nally, the board did not con­grat­u­late it­self for per­mit­ting the restora­tion of Nes­field House. Apart from any­thing else, the board doesn’t get to ap­prove re­source con­sents.

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