Golf course fight goes to court

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JAMES PASLEY

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.

JAMES PASLEY/FAIR­FAX NZ

Save Cham­ber­lain Park chair­per­son Ge­off Se­nescall says it is a work­ing class golf course.

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