Golf course fight goes to court
A protest group is taking an Auckland local board to court over its decision to chop a public golf course in two.
The Save Chamberlain Park group filed for judicial review in the High Court on Tuesday over Albert-Eden Local Board’s decision to reduce Chamberlain Park from a full 18-hole golf course down to nine holes.
The proceedings challenged both Auckland Council’s decision to allocate the decision-making ability to the local board, as well as the steps taken by the board since.
The group questioned why the fate of a regional sporting facility was in the hands of a local board.
It was also concerned that the consultation process never questioned whether change was needed at all.
In 2015 the local board approved a design that included a 3.3ha park with a driving range, two multi-use sports fields, a public park and a pedestrian and cycle path through the eastern edge of the site.
There was also the possibility that Auckland Council would relocate the Mt Albert Aquatic Centre to the park.
The cost of the redevelopment was estimated between $8 million to $13.4m and aimed to better util- ise public space for the wider community.
Save Chamberlain Park chairman Geoff Senescall said going to court was only way to make people see sense.
‘‘We believe the process is flawed. It’s morally flawed and I think the argument is flawed,’’ Senescall said.
‘‘This is a working class golf course, this is where the poor people play golf.’’
The park was used as a golf course since the late 1930s and was redesigned when the Northwestern Motorway was built.
Senescall said it had been a ‘‘monty of a year’’ so far, and last year there had been more than 50,000 rounds of golf.
‘‘It’s like soccer or rugby - you need a park to play.’’
Albert-Eden Local Board chair Peter Hayne said he was not worried and didn’t believe anything would be found.
‘‘They need a case before they can win,’’ Hayne said.
In March the group attempted to raise awareness by raising a banner on the St Luke’s Rd motorway on ramp, adjacent to the golf course.
It also had a petition that attracted 5000 signatures.
Save Chamberlain Park chairperson Geoff Senescall says it is a working class golf course.