owner Marius Rothmann is "very disappointed" - and he might be censoring his feelings for a family newspaper. He's just discovered Auckland Council doesn't plan to renew his lease, and the beachfront reserve on which the camping ground is located will be replaced with Yachting NZ offices.
Other locals query the yachties' apparent success in lobbying council and its consultants over the proposal.
The council's Takapuna Beach Draft Reserve Management Plan was published on Tuesday and outlines two options for the reserve. Neither includes a holiday park, which has been on the reserve since the 1930s.
One involves a grassed public area on the waterfront, a large storage area for boats, canoes, waka and yachts as well as offices for the National Ocean Water Sports Centre - a base for Yachting NZ. The other adds a row of carparks to accommodate a "contemporary metro style" motorhome park.
The council says the holiday park has become expensive and has moved away from its "Kiwi camping ground roots." Changing the reserve from "exclusive commercial use" will free up the site for the growing local population and a "marine hub".
Mr Rothmann bought the holiday park lease in 2008 with his business partner, Rick Mason.
"We were under the impression the lease would be renewed. We were in contact with council a few times to sort it out, then this process started. We inquired when we bought the business re due diligence and they didn't say we weren't going to get it [renewed].
"It's been a holiday park since 1930. Why would you buy a business if you know it's not going to exist after four years?"
He says this is the only urban coastal camping ground left in Auckland and people often comment on its uniqueness. Contrary to the council's statement, he says at least 50 per cent of his guests are Kiwi and the park attracts 29,000 people a year. He says it contributed $7.5m to the local economy in 2009-10.
"If they're not spending their money here, Takapuna will miss out."
Mr Rothmann says a motorhome carpark would lack the park's village atmosphere. He was taken aback to learn Yachting NZ may be allowed to build offices on the site, despite earlier plans to build underground on a reserve further along the beach.
"I'm surprised the controversial bunker has been moved. Yachting is elitist. Why is that allowed on public land? Why can't they use office space in Takapuna?"
Holiday Park Association chief executive Fergus Brown says the council's plan will mean people using tents and cabins will have to drive to the next park at Orewa.
"The new Auckland Council has led the way as far as tourism is concerned. It's very sad to see another division of council taking what appears to be an anti-visitor line."
When Mr Rothmann and Mr Mason tried to renew the lease in 2011 (a lease that was originally given as a 10-year from 2003-2013), Takapuna resident Dave Booth started the 'Save Takapuna Beach Holiday Park' Facebook campaign. It now has more than 3000 followers.
Mr Booth says the holiday park complements other activities in the area and should be integrated into the overall plan. "Most people using the yacht centre will be young and on a limited budget. They'd stay in the campground anyway."
He says the council's plan remains a live document so nothing is set in stone, but the biggest challenge is apathy: "We've got to get the public behind this because there's obviously more influential stakeholders that interact with council. For us to be at the top of the table we need lots of people."
The Harbour Access Trust, which is backing the waters sports centre, is made up of North Shore residents including international yachting official Ralph Roberts, Takapuna Business Association and Takapuna Beach Cafe owner Dave Donaldson, and TV yachting commentator Peter Montgomery.
Local resident Bruce Tubb claims the council's plan is an example of "prime recreation space being compromised for a limited number of affluent people".
"Takapuna Boating Club already has a relatively new three-storey building with offices on the reserve further to the south and an adjoining hardstand area for rigging and storing Olympic class yachts. Why is another building, offices, rigging and storage required on another part of the reserve to the north?"
He says there's ample room at the Viaduct Harbour, Westhaven, Okahu Bay or Long Bay for such a facility.
"Leave our precious Takapuna reserve land for the North Shore residents and visitors."
Devonport-Takapuna Local Board chair Chris Darby says the plan has considered the changing face of holiday parks. "Growth is in the beach holiday motorhome market - similar facilities exist in Wellington and at Auckland Airport."
When the watersports centre was proposed further along the beach, people felt there would be conflict between small craft and beach users. "Apart from that, it's the site of a major telephone cable and to relay that is no small task. We thought a solution could be to concentrate the activity. If you have small crafts and the boat ramp together and 'hub' things rather than spread them, it allows greater freedom for those undertaking less structured activities."
Some 30 per cent of the centre will be for community use. "The council isn't putting $3m into the centre without making sure community access is provided," Mr Darby says.
The management plan sees the National Ocean Water Sports Centre move from its proposed location under The Strand to the space now occupied by the camping ground.
The centre, being developed by Auckland Council and the Harbour Access Trust, will be owned and operated by Yachting NZ as a base for its high-performance athletes. The new plans include a two-level building on the corner of Earnoch of Alison Aves as a training and administrative base. There would be a hardstand for Olympic class yachts and undercover storage for small ocean craft. The plan specifies 30 per cent of the facility be available for community use. Yachting NZ CEO David Abercrombie says the organisation has always viewed the northern reserve as the best option for the centre. "It's a flat land area so it was always going to be a lot cheaper."
Yachting NZ will prepare new designs to accompany its submission in support of the management plan. "This allows us to design a building that is more appropriate to high-performance needs and provides storage in the least obtrusive manner."
* Auckland Council has released two proposals (below) for Takapuna Beach for public consultation. Both mean the end of the famous holiday camp. One option includes a small motorhome park:
The other would not permit overnight camping:
The draft plan is open for public submissions until Tuesday, September 4, 4.30pm.
Click here. There will be walking tours of the planned reserve from Takapuna Library on Saturday, July 21, 10am or Sunday, August 5, 10am
Camping history at Takapuna
1930s Takapuna Beach Camp, now Takapuna Holiday Park, was developed.
1970 End of The Promenade was stopped as road and declared as a reserve.
1977/78 Camp ground bought by former Takapuna City Council. The campground activity continued over the same area of land until 2003 when the southern third and the eastern edge were released back to the then North Shore City Council for public recreation.
1980s Two small parcels of land are vested as reserve.
1990s Council makes moves to secure beachfront land in public ownership. The land now described as Lots 4 and 5 was purchased as part of a larger block extending through to Hurstmere Road. Part of Lots 4 and 5 is leased to the Takapuna Boating Club.
1992 All land extending from the toilet block at the south end to the Simpson Western property at 33 The Strand is purchased from Tower Corporation for $9.4 million.
1995-97 Further land acquired - Mon Desir apartments (1995) and Sands apartments (1996).
2003 Takapuna Beach Holiday Park Inc renews lease on land for 10 years for caravan park for short term camping. No right of renewal.
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