“For 20 years this development has been fought against and it’s 20 years too long,” says Wayne McIntosh. Photo Liz Waters

Various sporting codes including the Waiheke Island Golf Club which has a nine-hole course at Rangihoua have concerns about the park’s future under rules laid out in Auckland Council’s draft Reserve Management Plan for the Rangihoua Reserve and Sports Park.

The draft plan is open for public scrutiny and submissions until the middle of next week.

It acknowledges that the Waiheke Golf Club’s expansion into an 18-hole course has been awaiting the outcome of decisions set out in the plan but says that council considers that the watercourses, wetlands, and informal recreation management areas should “no longer be considered appropriate locations to expand golfing on the reserve”.

Council proposes to limit the future expansion of golf activities to within the document’s current activity footprint when the club’s current occupation rights end.

Golf club captain Wayne McIntosh says he can’t help but feel that’s just limiting future generations’ opportunities to outdoor activities such as golf and shutting down what potentially could become a destination venue on the island. 

“That would preclude any opportunity for boosting the local economy through accommodation, retail businesses and hospitality.

“Yes, we want to develop the course. The popularity of golf on the island is going through the roof. We have more than400 members now, and our course is too small for the competitions we hold weekly,” he says.

“For 20 years this development has been fought against and it’s 20 years too long. Meditation or compromise is non-existent as the local board rarely interacts with us on helping to amend the situation.”

The golf club is looking to design walking tracks in which the public could view local traditional carvings and learn about the local traditions and history of the land before golfing activities.

“It would be like the sculpture walk but indigenous-based and permanent. We are going to be incorporating this into our current course so the non-golfing public can enjoy it too,” he says.

As for the environmental side of things, Wayne says the club has changed, and it supports wetland protection and rejuvenation. • Silvia Massa.

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