Chamberlain Park Redevelopment Review

www.savecpark.org

A group of concerned Auckland citizens and users of Chamberlain Park Golf Coursehaveformed Save Chamberlain Park Incorporated to bring to attention the wide-spread opposition to the proposal to chop up Chamberlain Park and reduce it to a 9-hole course. In summary, we believe that Chamberlain Park Golf Course is an important and well-used recreational facility that is used by people from all over Auckland. It therefore should not be subject to the whimsical desires of a local board. That sentiment is captured in a petition that now has more than5,000 signatures from both golfers and non-golfers from throughout Auckland. Moreover, we consider the process undertaken by the Albert-Eden Local Board to redevelop the course to be flawed, particularly regarding the poor consultation process with the public and the fact that there appears to have been no consultation with parties such as Auckland Transport whose sign-off would be vital to the project. It was also unfair to the many current users of Chamberlain Park who cannot afford to, or do not wish to, join private clubs.

In that context, the concerns of the group are set out in the following, which provides a history of the process which has been gone through to date.

 INTRODUCTION TO CHANGE

In February 2014 the Albert-Eden Local Board (“AELB”, “the Board”) briefed Auckland Council officers to prepare high level development options for Chamberlain Park (“CP”).  The report (“June 2014 report”)presented by officers to the Board in June 2014 noted that officers had been requested to incorporate a 9-hole golf course, sports fields, recreation facility, informal recreation facilities and formal gardens[1].

This plan came as a total surprise to CP golf course users, who were only alerted to it by an NZ Herald article on 11 June 2014[2].

In its Draft Local Board Plan 2014, AELB stated that “the use of Chamberlain Park is being reviewed and we will consult you on options for maximising its passive and active recreational use”. Interestingly, in the Plan Summary reference is made to only “maximising (CP’s) recreational use”

REASONS FOR CHANGE

The reasons that the Albert-Eden Local Board (AELB) have given for reducing Chamberlain Park Golf Course from 18-holes to 9-holes include, in relation to Albert-Eden include:

1: A shortage of sports field capacity.

2: A shortage of open space

3: A surplus of golf course capacity..

None of these reasons are supported by the relevant facts.

1 – Sports field Capacity.

Council commissioned research (Longdill 2014) found that Auckland Region demand for sports fields in 2014 was 7.3 Full Field Equivalent Hours Per Week (FFE HPW) (Longdill 2014 p 17) for every 1,000 residents in the active age group (5 to 49) which comprised 60.1% of Auckland’s total population. 

This means sand carpeted sports fields, which are capable of hosting 20 HPW, can each meet demand from 4,500 residents.

As there are approximately 105,000 residents in Albert-Eden around 24 sand carpet fields are needed in Albert-Eden to satisfy current demand.  Happily, there are 32 fields in Albert-Eden so current demand can be easily satisfied by utilising existing fields.  

Population increases predicted during the Unitary Plan process can be accommodated by sand carpeting all 32 fields, which would satisfy the demand from a population of 145,000

Further population increases could be accommodated by installing hybrid on as many sand carpet fields as required to accommodate demand from the increased population.  Each hybrid can accommodate demand from a population of around 8,000 residents.  32 hybrid fields would accommodate demand from 256,000 residents.

(Confirmation from RIMU pending!)

2: Open Space Provision

It is stated on page 20 of the Albert Eden Local Board Plan 2014 that there is "only 2.8 hectares of open space per 1000 people in Albert-Eden.”  There were 95,000 people in Albert-Eden in 2014 so that’s 95 x 2.8 = 266 ha open space out of a local board area of 2,835 ha.  That amounts to 9.4% open space.  Given the approximate nature of this data 10% open space is a valid summation.

Council has not been able to verify the 2.8 ha per 1000 figure.  However measurement, on google maps, of Albert-Eden’’s 109 parks and reserves has identified over 250 ha of open space which indicates that the 266 ha figures comes from an assessment of open space in Albert-Eden that has at some reliability.

Albert-Eden Local Board member Graeme Easte, who voted to reduce Chamberlain Park from 18 to 9 holes, has stated that he believes that there is only 2% open space in Albert-Eden.  However there is around 10% open space in Albert-Eden.  10% open space is very adequate by international standards. For example, a third of Melbourne’s municipalities have 10% or less open space. As an aside, Melbourne has 40 public golf courses for 4 million people, compared to Auckland’s 2 public golf courses for 1.5 million people.

Auckland Council does not specify a minimum desirable amount of open space for existing urban areas as, due to the cost of land, it is not possible to make significant land purchases in existing urban areas and residents in those areas are expected to make do with the open space they already have.  However, Auckland Council does specify that new urban areas shall have at least 10% open space in development with a gross density of 20 dwellings per hectare or less.  (Parks and Open Spaces Interim Provision Guidelines For greenfield developments and urban areas August 2014, p 11)   Albert-Eden already has 10% open space.

Additionally, Albert-Eden has on its boundaries Cornwall Park / One Tree Hill and Western Springs / Meola Park comprising 323 ha, more than doubling the open space immediately available to Albert-Eden residents, and almost the size of New York’s Central Park. Other parks such as Auckland Domain, Keith Hay Park and War Memorial Park are only a short distance away.

3– Golf Course Capacity:

Council’s “Golf Facilities Investment Plan Discussion Document” 2016 notes on page 12:

“Auckland’s population is projected to increase by one million people over the next 30 years. As the population grows, the supply of golf courses needs to be aligned to the needs of the changing demographic profile and their location. Proximity has a strong influence on participation rates.”

“There are 39 golf courses in the Auckland region, this equates to approximately one golf course per 38,569 Aucklanders (O’Connor Sinclair, 2013a)”

If the Auckland population grows by a further million people, and there are no changes in supply, there will be one golf course per 50,464 Aucklanders (O’Connor Sinclair, 2013a.)”

“Based on population growth projections, we can expect an increase of golfers across Auckland over the next 20 years. Therefore, more golf facilities will probably be required to keep up with the demand, at least until 2033.”

This indicates that one golf course is required for every, approximately, 50,000 Aucklanders.  Therefore Albert-Eden requires around 2 golf courses.  There is only 1 golf course in Albert-Eden and no available land for the 2nd golf course needed to meet current demand.  As Albert-Eden’s population increases towards 200,000 there will be demand for a total of 3 further 18-hole golf courses to meet demand, but the courses will not be able to be built due to the unavailability of land.

The population of the Auckland isthmus in 2016 was approximately 400,000 meaning that around 8 golf courses are required.  There are only 4 golf courses on the isthmus and no available land to build the 4 further courses needed to meet current demand.  As the population of the isthmus increases towards 800,000 there will be demand for a total of 12 further 18-hole golf courses to meet demand, but the courses will not be able to be built due to the unavailability of land.

Albert-Eden Local Board Chairman Peter Haynes has stated on numerous occasions that demand for golf is migrating from playing 18-holes to playing 9-holes.  All of the evidence is that that is not the case.  However, even if it were the case it would not provide support for reducing the capacity Albert-Eden’s only golf course, and one of only four on the isthmus, by 50%.

Given the level of demand for golf courses in Auckland there is no conceivable justification for reducing the supply of golf courses in Albert-Eden from 1 to ½, and on the isthmus from 4 to 3 ½.

1.      Golf provision trends.

i.                    Reference is made to the National and Auckland Regional Golf Facility Studies made in 2013 by O’Connor Sinclair (“OCS reports”).

ii.                  The OCS reports state that golf courses have traditionally relied on membership fees as their main source of income. The Auckland report identifies some 9,000 rounds per year[3] as being played at CP when the actual figure was over 50,000[4] in each of the financial years from 2010/11 to 2013/14. The main source of income at CP is green fees from casual golfers.

iii.                Lack of diversity in golf experiences and player pathways. CP is not only a relatively easy course for casual players, it is where many golfers learned to play before moving on to private clubs.

iv.                 Oversupply and low utilisation.

O'Connor Sinclair calculated average usage of Auckland courses at 23%, with the highest utilisation being 40%[5]. Based on the true number of rounds, CP exceeds both these figures. No data has been provided on usage of other sports grounds in AELB’s area such as Walker Park, Nicholson Park or Fowlds Park but it is unlikely that they would reach these levels.  It should also be noted that an Auckland Council officer has been quoted as saying that use of golf courses is expected to increase until 2030[6] . In the same article, New Zealand Golf chief executive Dean Murphy was quoted as saying “population projections had indicated that more land was needed for golf, not less”.

v.                   Untapped target markets.

As noted above, CP can be considered as the home of casual golf in Auckland. It is one of only two public courses in the Auckland City area and reducing it to 9 holes would have a significant impact on its utilisation. Also, it is widely used by Maori, Pasifika and Asian players as well as by older players and, being close to the CBD, provides an opportunity for Auckland Council to tap the tourist market.

 

2.      Informal recreation.

i.                 The proposed plan includes barbeque and playground areas at the western end of the course adjacent to Meola Creek/Waititko as well as an off-leash dog exercise area.

ii.               This is the wettest part of CP and can only be accessed from Sutherland Road, a narrow dead end road with very limited parking available.

iii.             The closeness to the waterway is a hazard in itself, as well as the risk caused by sewage overflows which occasionally occur from Rawalpindi Reserve into Waititiko.

iv.              Two existing greens will need to have the soil removed and sterilised due to the applications of fertiliser and weed spray over many years, which will be a significant cost.

v.                The greenkeepers’ shed is on this area and means that a risk is posed by regular movements of tractors and other machinery. If it is proposed that the shed be removed, given the obvious health and safety issues it poses, then the whole irrigation system, which is controlled from the shed, will need to be reconfigured. No costings have been provided for this work.

vi.              Though the course can be reconfigured, it would be significantly shortened and impact the playing experience. When part of the course was needed for motorway development in the 1970’s the far-sighted Auckland City Council of the time purchased new land to ensure that a full 18-hole course was retained. Even putting aside the cost there would seem to be little public benefit to be gained from this project.

 

3.      Formal gardens.

i.                 Initial thoughts were for a Chinese garden to be incorporated as part of CP, however at its meeting on 1 April 2015 the Board agreed that the garden be located on a site outside the CP area. This may now be re-instated, see below. Note that when the Chinese garden option was dropped a proposal for an aquatic centre suddenly emerged (see below).

 

THE CONSULTATION PROCESS

The June 2014 report recommended that AELB consult with stakeholders and the wider community. We bring to attention that at no point in the consultation process was the status quo offered as an option and, in fact, attempts by Board members to include the status quo were outvoted.

1.      The first consultation was the Draft AELB Local Board Plan 2014 and the results were considered at the AELB Local Board Hearings on 28 August 2014.   After a submission was made to these hearings by Chamberlain Park Golf Club opposing re-development of CP, club members were told by a Board member that this was the first they had heard that the club had not been consulted previously.

i.                 Excluding pro-forma submissions, mostly on the Windmill Road netball centre, some 400 submissions were received. A number of these were supported by multiple signatures, giving a total of 1,044 submitters including 534 asking to retain CP as an 18-hole golf course.

ii.               These submissions have been analysed as:

Keep CP as an 18-hole course 52%

Support re-development of CP including Chinese garden 24%

No comment on CP or Chinese garden, neutral on Plan, raise a single issue such as plastic bags or smoke-free 10%

Agree with the plan overall 8%

Re-develop CP with no reference to Chinese garden 4%

Disagree with Plan 2%

 

2.      Between December 2014 and January 2015 a shapeauckland survey asked six questions. Note that there is no aquatic centre option in this survey and that there does not appear to be any publicly-available information on the presentation and interpretation of the information to the Board. 1,365 people participated in the survey.

i.                 Select each golfing activity you would like to see at CP. [NB: this question is   considered biased as an 18-hole option was not added until after commencement of the survey, denying early responders the opportunity to select this option]. At the AELB Extraordinary meeting on 22 April 2015 it was reported that the most popular choices were 18-hole course 42%, driving range 36% and 9-hole course 27%.       

ii.               Select three sporting activities that you would most like to see at CP. [NB: this question is considered biased as it excluded golf as an option]. The “other” option received 55% support, with write-in comments indication that this support was largely for golf. 37% supported multi-use artificial turf and 30% selected football.

iii.             Select three everyday activities that you would most like to do at CP. 59% selected walking, followed by jogging/running 38% and other 35%. [NB: off-leash dog exercise area which is being promoted for the western end of CP was the least popular option].        

iv.              Select three play spaces you would most like to see at CP. Nature play was supported by 37%, other by 35% and school age play 35%.

v.                Select three cultural activities and environmental outcomes that you would most like to see at CP. A formal Chinese garden was selected by 45%. 40% selected a performance space and only 30% supported Meola Creek restoration which forms part of AELB’s master plan.         

vi.              77% of respondents supported a “no housing” option in question 6.           

 

3.      On 1 December 2014 an event was held at CP which was the cause of public concern expressed in letters to the Central Leader on 24 December 2014 and 14 January 2015. No Board member, officer or consultant was identified in any way and no person would address or engage in open debate with the several dozen people who attended.

The exercise consisted of sticking yellow labels on posters repeating the questions referred to in 2 above. Attempts were made to add “golf” to question 2 but there were attempts made by officials to remove this option.

There is doubt that the results of this exercise were included in the results referred to in 2 above.

 

4.      AELB-appointed consultants Jasmax had a series of meetings between December 2014 and January 2015 with New Zealand Golf, Auckland Golf, Chamberlain Park Golf Club and Chamberlain Park Ladies Golf Club. Council officers were also in attendance as was a representative of a golf course designer.

The outcome of these meetings was a document completed and signed by all four golfing organisations on 22 January 2015 “intended to assist AELB to make informed and objective decisions with regard to the current and future utilisation of CP”. All four agreed on “supporting investigation into Council investment in CP for an all-weather driving range and introductory facilities, SNAG golf area and upgraded clubhouse facilities”.

Both Auckland Golf and Chamberlain Park Golf Club supported the retention of an 18-hole course with potential adjustments to accommodate the aforementioned investments. Chamberlain Park Ladies Golf Club also supported retention of an 18-hole course as well as “utilising the land to its fullest capacity for golf”.

New Zealand Golf supported “retention of as much as the golfing footprint as possible with investigation into the aforementioned investments and other golf related activities”.

There appears to be no publicly-available evidence that this document has ever been presented to the Board.

 

5.      Submissions were made to AELB on its Draft 2015-2025 Long Term Plan and considered at its Extraordinary Meeting on 22 April 2015.

At page 9 of the Agenda for that meeting it is noted that 54% of 276 submitters supported the Advocacy area “Immediately progress the sports field upgrade programme; and investigate adding recreational and sporting facilities at CP”. This was described as “somewhat weak support”.

At page 51 of the same document it is recorded that 37% of submitters did not support the investigation and upgrade and notes strong views being given opposing the development of CP.

6.      At the same meeting, the Board approved four master plan scenarios to be issued for further consultation in spite of opposition on the grounds that there were no costings and that Auckland Transport had not advised that they supported enabling works and that no costings for those works were available. Attempts to include the status quo in the scenarios and to delay the consultation until Auckland Transport support and costings were received were lost[7].

All scenarios included developing the western end of the course, restoration work on Waititiko and providing walkways/cycleways through and around CP. Scenarios 1-3 included a truncated 18-hole golf course, scenario 2 included a driving range and practice area and scenario 3 provides three sports fields and parking. Scenario 4, the only 9-hole option, includes 2 sports field, a driving range, an aquatic centre and parking. Also note that the provision of three 18-hole options dilutes the vote supporting retention of 18 holes, which is in fact what happened (see 11 below for voting outcomes).

7.      This is the first mention of an aquatic centre and no costings for it were provided. An aquatic centre already exists in the Board area, at Mt Albert Grammar School, and the Board was in the process of refurbishing it at a cost of $3.2 million to make it “safe and operational for 5 to 10 years”.[8] In the same release the school’s principal refers to the value of the centre to the school, yet we are told by Board members that the school wants the space.

8.      For all scenarios a very broad range of costings was given, eg Waititiko restoration $2.7-$12.2 million, as was pointed out in a letter to the Central Leader on 27 May 2015.

9.      The four scenarios were put out for consultation on shapeauckland from 1 May to June 2015 and a “yellow sticker” event similar to that described above was held at Western Springs Garden Hall on 18 May 2015.

10.   At its meeting on 10 June 2015 AELB budgeted to spend $300,000 in each of the next three years on the development of CP[9] and described this at its meeting on 5 August 2015 as “earmarked…..to commence the implementation of the CP master plan”[10] even though the master plan had not been agreed and no final decision to go ahead with the redevelopment had been made.

11.  The outcomes of the survey referred to in 6 above were reported to AELB at its meeting on 5 August 2015[11]. It appeared from discussions that these results did not include the results of the 18 May 2015 event described above.

Of 263 submissions received, 15% supported scenario 1, 13% supported scenario 2, 12% supported scenario 3, 35% supported scenario 4 and 25% supported none of the above or, in other words, 40% supported a modified 18 holes. Given that there was not a status quo option and the fact that there was a high level of disapproval of the agenda-driven process, those that selected “none of the above” could realistically be those who wanted the status quo. If that interpretation was taken then 65% of the votes were in support of an option that did not involve 9 holes.

12.  As a result, in spite of only achieving 35% support, scenario 4 has been adopted as the basis for the development of the final CP Master Plan on a narrow 4-3 vote[12], achieving the objective set out in February 2014 in spite of a clear majority of opposition being shown throughout the process. During AELB meetings it was stated that more weight was given to quality of argument over quantity, and this would appear to be a clear breach of democratic principles.

13.  At page 35 of the Chamberlain Park Master Plan document presented to the Board on 5 August 2015 it was noted that “Environmental assessments, in particular traffic effects on the main arterial routes and residential streets associated with increased recreational activities and uses for CP, are also required”. There is no reference to this in the minutes of that meeting and there does not appear to have been any consultation with Auckland Transport.

 

14.  The same document also recommends at page 35 that the Board funds “a feasibility study of the Chinese garden, performance space and theatre” so it would appear that these are now back on the agenda.

 

CONSULTATION WITH IWI

1.      Information provided to the group under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 indicates that hui were held with Iwi in February and March 2015. Minutes of these hui show that the Board stated that its concerns about lack of sports fields and open space in its area were the key drivers of the project, however as the group has demonstrated in these documents these “concerns” have no validity.

2.      The minutes also point to the fact that the only AELB members attending were City Vision members who are in favour of re-developing CP and therefore no alternative point of view was put to Iwi representatives. While mention is made in the minutes of opposition from golfers there is also an implication from the minutes that problems existed at CP and that “a region wide study of golf trends” had concluded that alternative uses should be considered.

3.      Again, as demonstrated above, the consultation undertaken by AELB was flawed, the plans submitted were poorly costed and not well thought out. As noted elsewhere in this document, golf is the highest participation sport in Auckland and player demand for the game is anticipated to grow.

4.      The majority of discussions were centered around water management and the restoration of Waititiko and there does not appear to have been any consideration given to nga Tamariki o Tane or to the impact of the proposal on the large number of tangata whenua who play golf at CP, where whanau tournaments and an “Iwi of Origin” event are regular features. According to the 2013/14 Active New Zealand Survey, “Maori participation in golf is at its highest in Auckland and is in the top 10 most popular sport and recreation activities among Maori across the region”[13].

5.      At the minutes of its meeting on 5 August 2015, the Board resolved to note “that further work will be undertaken with mana whenua to incorporate Te Aranga design principles before the adoption of the Master Plan”[14]. However, the Master Plan has already been adopted by the Board. We believe that Iwi need to be given the full picture as the change as is being promoted will impact Maori.

COSTS OF THE PROJECT

As noted above, the Board has already earmarked $900,000 towards the CP project plus noting the requirement for an additional $1.38 million for the western end development[15].

Costs quoted by AELB chairman Peter Haynes in a NZ Herald article for the entire CP makeover total in excess of $30 million[16] and do not include costs of required additional access required to be provided by Auckland Transportor of any Chinese development. There also does not appear to be any allowance for inflationary increases.

There appears to have been no cost/benefit analysis or business plan done, nor is there any indication of the rate of return which the Board expects to get on its investment. Currently CP does provide a source of revenue to the Board, which is more than can be said of other sports fields. Information provided to the group by Auckland Council under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 shows that the annual revenue from the course for 2015-16 was over $1 million which will likely be greatly reduced under a less-popular 9-hole format. Anecdotally, the 9-hole course at Ellerslie racecourse is not a well-used facility.

In addition, the information referred to above from Auckland Council shows that income less expenditure from CP for the 2015/16 year was $215,863, or 21% of revenue. This is a direct contradiction of the statement made by Board Chairman Peter Haynes who stated “At the same time, numbers playing golf are in decline, and the course on the Park barely breaks even”[17].

The second part of his statement is refuted by the information provided by Auckland Council showing that the number of rounds played at CP in 2015/16 was actually 7.6% up on the previous year.

The north-eastern corner of CP where the aquatic centre, sports fields and parking are proposed rests on a layer of basalt found to be over 20m thick and there is doubt as to whether the costs of excavating through this have been considered.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

1.      While it is true that numbers using Chamberlain Park have declined since a peak in the 2001/02 year the trend is now reversing. . A factor in the drop-off was that during the global financial crisis golf clubs experienced a decline in membership and were forced to increase availability to casual golfers, who were the predominant users of CP. In spite of this at over 51,000 rounds per year CP remains one of the busiest golf courses in Auckland. That number has grown helped by better maintenance after some years of neglect, further adding to the appeal of the course.  It should be noted that as a public course casual golfers have full access rights during the busy weekend period. Even though private courses might be more open to casual golfers, access on weekends is very limited. These casual golfers come to CP from all over the Auckland area. CP is an icon of the Auckland sporting scene and has been since its opening in 1938. Its significance was recognised in a NZ Herald editorial “City gem’s significance demands it be left alone” on 23 May 2015 which decries the lack of understanding by AELB of CP’s place in the Auckland psyche.

2.      According to the Active New Zealand Survey 2013/2014 Auckland Region, golf is the most popular participation sport in Auckland, and as the city’s population increases so will the demand for golf facilities. As noted earlier, golf demand is expected to increase until 2030.

3.      A recent survey of both casual and club golfers undertaken by New Zealand Golf produced information that contradicted what had previously been accepted wisdom. The survey revealed that the majority did not want shorter courses or driving ranges, what they wanted was more time to meet the personal challenge of playing 18 holes of golf. Apparently this data has been provided to Auckland Council, but appears to be being ignored (together with the majority opinion) in the desire to change CP. 9 holes is not a true test of golf, what is planned is akin to cutting a rugby field in half and expecting play to continue on it.

4.      Golf is one of the few sports that can be played throughout a lifetime. CP is popular among the older age group because of its flat nature, wide fairways and low cost.

5.      These are the same factors which attract casual golfers, particularly those who cannot afford to, or do not wish to, join a private club.

6.      Due to its volcanic base, CP can be played all year round. The other public course at Takapuna is often under water, particularly at that part of the course alongside the Northern motorway. This results in their regular players crossing the bridge to play at CP. Members of other clubs also come to CP when their courses are closed during winter.

7.      CP is home to a wide variety of bird life, both native and introduced species and there are fears that redevelopment will lead to a loss of habitat and attractiveness for those inhabitants.

8.      CP is part of a green belt running through Western Springs to Meola Point and has been described as central Auckland’s third largest open space[18]. Somewhat perplexingly, the proposed master plan will actually reduce the green space at CP. What is now grass will be covered by artificial sports fields, carparks, walkways/cycleways, the aquatic centre building, “safety” underlays under the playground, driving range bays and possibly a Chinese performance space and theatre, to say nothing of the potential loss of trees. This point has not been brought to the public’s attention.

9.       One issue apparently not considered by the Board is access to the proposed development at the north-eastern corner of CP which will need to be from St Lukes Road to carparking servicing the proposed aquatic centre and sports fields. Auckland Transport has identified this part of St Lukes Road as one of the 10 busiest road areas in Auckland[19] yet does not appear to have been consulted, given support for or costed the intersection which would be required, and would mean yet another set of traffic lights between Great North Road and Linwood Avenue.

10.  The group opposing re-development of CP does not oppose plans for the restoration of Waititiko, but believes that this can be done without impacting the golf course.

11.  No funding for the proposed re-development has been included in the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan[20]. It is suggested that the needs of the wider community would be better served by spending $30 million on sand carpeting existing sports fields rather than chopping up an Auckland icon, or even providing sand carpeting on existing primary and intermediate school fields which could then be utilised for both training and weekend play.

OUR VISION

The group has a vision for CP which can maximise the golfing profile while at the same time providing for increased utilisation of the park by the public. The key features of this vision are:

1.     CP is designated as a Regional asset (with responsibility transferring from the AELB to the Auckland Council and Environment and Community Committee)  to reflect the fact that it is an asset that is well used by all Aucklanders and plays an important role in providing recreational activity for the many who are not in a position to join a private golf course.

2.     CP is formally recognised as the “home of the casual golfer” with an 18-hole layout to reflect its patronage and to ensure that it remains an asset for generations of Aucklanders to come. CP is one of the busiest courses in Auckland and one of only two public courses in the city area.

3.     Ensure that anysurplus funds that may be generated from golfing activities and golf shop sales be used for a continuation of the emphasis on providing Aucklanders with an accessible and low-cost place to play golf rather than going into general board/council funds.  Such surpluses could also be used to provide clinics targeting all age groups who wish to be introduced to golf, which is a game for all ages as Lydia Ko recently pointed out[21].

4.     As CP is only 10 minutes drive from the Auckland CBD, promote the course among tourists as a readily-accessible golfing destination. This objective could be furthered by working in conjunction with Ateed and tourist operators.

5.     To facilitate access to the whole course put concrete pathways with rubber central strips through the entire course.

6.     Establish a virtual driving range for teaching and training purposes, thereby adding to the work already being done by James Kupa, Victor Pirihi and the other course professionals.  This range could be promoted particularly for children to give them a start and an appreciation for the game of golf so that at the very least they can pick it up in later life.

7.     Along with the driving range establish a chipping and putting practice area with several bunkers to help skill improvement. It is suggested that both facilities could be located at the present coaching area alongside the current 10th fairway.

8.     Establish a bike and walking track linking the current bikeway alongside the North-western motorway around the perimeter of the course.

9.     Establish well planned areas for playground or picnic activities.

10. Restore Waititiko as noted earlier. This work would need to incorporate a solution to the sewage overflow issues at Rawalpindi Reserve.

11. Upgrade the clubhouse facilities so that it can be used for community events such as art exhibitions, auctions, fund raising events, craft exhibitions, exercise and wellness classes, meetings and any other local-orientated civic activity.

12. We recognise that these ideas are not without cost, but suggest that such cost would be considerably less than the costs being quoted for the proposed development.

 

CONCLUSION

Our group considers that we have demonstrated clearly that AELB does not, in fact, have a mandate to re-develop CP, and this is reinforced by the fact that the City Vision members of the Board who support the re-development did not test their decision in the recent local body elections, in spite of the fact that this may well be the largest single-ticket expenditure item in the Board’s current term.

Moreover, the Board has ignored the importance of CP to golf in Auckland. CP continues to be one of the busiest golf courses in Auckland and is one of only two public courses. With golf being the number one participation sport in Auckland, CP provides casual golfers with an accessible venue to carry out their recreational activities. As such it is popular with a wide range of people of all ethnicities, particularly those who cannot afford or justify the expense of membership at a private club.

The notion that AELB can justify a $30 million plus redevelopment plan in an environment where rate payers are facing escalating costs makes no sense at any level. Further, it beggars belief that under the super city structure the AELB can determine to change the use of a well-used and loved facility just because it happens to sit within its confines and, in doing so, gives no consideration to its many users from all over Auckland.

As the NZ Herald editorial mentioned above stated “(the Board) needs to recognise also that what it (CP) provides is irreplaceable. And that if the carve-up goes ahead and the course is reduced….a city gem will be lost forever.”                                               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Chamberlain Park Golf Course Development Options document presented to AELB 4 June 2014

[2] Peter Calder: Where golf is only part of the fun

[3] O’Connor Sinclair Auckland report p67

[4] Golf Facilities Investment Plan Discussion Document presented to Auckland Council Parks, Recreation and Sport Committee 9 March 2016

[5]  O’Connor Sinclair Auckland report p46

[6] NZ Herald 15 August 2015: Golf courses face cut

[7] AELB minutes of meeting 22 April 2015, page 22

[8] Auckland Council Media Release 4 September 2015.

[9] AELB agenda for meeting Attachment A, Item 13.

[10] AELB minutes of meeting 5 August 2015, page 9.

[11] Meeting agenda item 15 “Chamberlain Park Master Plan”, page 32.

[12] AELB minutes of meeting 5 August 2015, page 9.

[13] Golf Facilities Investment Plan: Discussion Document, Auckland Council Parks, Recreation and Sport Committee agenda 9 March 2016, page 73

[14] Minutes of meeting, page 8

[15] Chamberlain Park Master Plan, page 36.

[16] 6 August 2015: Board sets ball rolling on golf park makeover.

[17] http://livenews.co.nz/2016/10/04/improvements-planned-for-all-the-community-at-chamberlain-park/

[18] Letter to NZ Herald 13 August 2015.

[19] NZ Herald 5 May 2016: Westies face city’s worst traffic nightmares.

[20] Minutes of AELB meeting 5 August 2015, page 9.

[21] NZ Herald 25 October 2016: Ko: if it’s not fun, it’s not worth it.