Wayne Thompson

Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Camper van plan for Takapuna's busy beach

Takapuna Beach Holiday Park. Photo / Janna Dixon
Takapuna Beach Holiday Park. Photo / Janna Dixon

Replacing the 80-year-old camping ground beside the beach at Takapuna with a scaled-down motor home park is suggested in a draft plan to retain the beach's natural attractions.

Venues for action water sports and events and a new rooftop car park are also proposed in the Draft Takapuna Beach Reserve Management Plan released yesterday for public comment.

The beach and its grassy reserves needed management if they were to survive growth in visitor numbers and the adjacent metropolitan centre, said Devonport-Takapuna Local Board chairman Chris Darby.

Last Sunday - a fine winter's day - drew 3500 visitors at one time to dodge piles of rotting and smelly seaweed.

Mr Darby called the 1250m stretch of firm sand an "urban highway for pedestrians".

The last management review 10 years ago, says the draft document, "reflected a public desire to experience a carefree coastal environment in which to relax on and off the water."

But Mr Darby said changes since called for tighter management to protect the beach's environment, recreation value and its cultural places, such as a grove of old pohutukawa trees which were sacred to Maori.

Submissions on the plan close on September 4.

The Auckland Council is working on a plan to achieve better integration between the town and the beach and reserve.

"There's a great sense of feeling and ownership of the beach, which is well used not just by North Shore residents but those across the harbour bridge.

"For generations, people have asked why the council has not brought about the marriage of the Hauraki Gulf, the beach and the town centre.

"Reactions have not been advised by an underlying template and looking at a wider context. We are standing up and saying we take responsibility now for generations to come.

"That's why we go to Cornwall Park and we enjoy a template that was laid many years ago."

The draft plan takes in the beach from Earnoch Ave in the north to Hauraki Rd and the Clifton Rd cliffs in the south.

It is proposed to use the central part near the Strand for the main events but respecting the sacred grove.

The first option for use of northern reserve land is based on the lease for the 72-stay unit holiday park ending next March, allowing an area dedicated to marine activities and a larger area of public open space.

The second option provides 28 spaces for a motor home overnight park - to keep the beach's camping tradition alive - as well as a marine activities hub and a big public lawn.

The National Ocean Water Sports Centre, to which Auckland ratepayers contribute $3 million, will be in two levels at the corner of Earnoch Ave and Alison Ave and will get a hard stand storage area for boats.

A lease will be granted to Ngati Whatua O Orakei Maori Trust Board and waka ama and Tauranga waka storage along the bank beneath Alison Ave. The bank will also have a car and trailer parking roof at the Alison Ave road level, beneath which will be houses, boats and boating facilities.

An external access road will extend between The Promenade and Earnoch Ave and will divide the marine area and the space for "unstructured" activity.

The main car and trailer park will be pulled back from the coast to give pedestrians more room and a new changing and toilet facility will be placed between the boat storage and the present kiosk/cafe.

The coastal walkway will be developed to the north of Earnoch Ave.

- NZ Herald

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