Plans to build a centre for high-performance sail training at Takapuna Beach were questioned by visitors at a public open day yesterday, with many regretting it would replace the camping ground on the waterfront reserve.

The 80-year-old camping ground's lease expires next March and will not be renewed by Auckland Council, despite a Facebook campaign drawing 3000 approvals.

But promoters of the $8 million National Ocean Water Sports Centre pointed out yesterday they were offered the slender site on the inland 40 per cent of the camping ground after the council had made its decision.

National Ocean Water Sports Centre - Concept Design


A visitor, who wished to be called Priscilla, was disappointed at the council's draft reserve management plan, which included the centre's site, and intended to make a submission before the deadline of September 11.

A competitor in the laser radial class at the London Olympics, Sara Winther, said the centre would store boats and equipment for athletes who were flatting and had no space.

Mt Albert visitor Graeme Cunningham said the new building should focus more on how the community could use it because it would dominate a public place.

Catherine Steel, of Belmont, said the building looked "futuristic" rather than a boathouse that would fit in with the landscape. Julia Bockett, of Mt Albert, said it looked like a convention centre.

Resident and veteran yachtie and boat designer Jim Young said the centre was a bunker with a carpark on top and would be completely out of character with the surrounding area.

Several hundred people visited the display of drawings for the proposed building, said Yachting New Zealand chief executive David Abercrombie.

Harbour Access trust member John Sandford said suggestions were welcomed in the centre's first public test.