A more than decade-long fight to secure public ownership of a parcel of land leading to a secluded beach cove off Waitemata Harbour has ended with a $270,000 purchase.
North Shore councillor Chris Darby confirmed Auckland Council had bought a 175sq m block of land at the corner of Stanley Point Rd and Second Ave, in Devonport, allowing the public legal access to a previously hard-to-reach bay named Secret Cove.
The land, with the legal address of 60A Stanley Point Rd, was bought for $270,000 and council signs will direct the public to it, Darby said.
The access is just metres from Auckland's biggest residential waterfront site, a 1.5ha property owned by one of the country's richest families, the Spencers.
The long-fought purchase was "fantastic" news for Aucklanders, Darby said.
"The purchase of this land to enable public access to Secret Cove has been a long and complicated one, but it's finally done now and I couldn't be happier.
"The newly acquired land delivers a public access point to a stunning hidden bay, and means the secret of Secret Cove can now be experienced and enjoyed by all."
The accessway was originally bought by 16 now-dead people in the 1930s or 1940s, with the goal to protect access to the beach for the public, Darby said.
Those people never sold the land, but several years ago an immediate neighbour lodged a caveat on the title, he said.
The legacy North Shore City Council had handled the public acquisition of the land badly, but the legal department of the Super City had successfully gone to court to have the caveat lifted and then the land transferred to the Public Trust Office.
One of the 16 original owners was William Henry Worrall.
A relative, who did not want to be named, confirmed the story of the land's original purchase.
Descendants were pleased the accessway was now owned by the public, she said.
Darby, who lives nearby but has his own access to the water, described the cove as "magical".
"Imagine swimming under the umbrella of pohutukawa trees on a full tide on a late summer afternoon, cicadas singing, with the sun setting behind the Harbour Bridge."
The accessway had never been signposted, and some residents living just 20m away did not know of its existence, he said.
Council staff also announced the purchase on the council's official Facebook page, prompting a mixed response from the public.
Franco Martinez wrote that the news was "rad".
But others expressed their disappointment the hideaway bay had been shared.
Mary Hammer wrote that it was a "pity" for Devonport people.
"Why announce it to the world like this?"