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YNZ Statement on the National Sailing Centre

YNZ Statement on the National Sailing Centre

Yachting New Zealand believes that the establishment of a centralised world class National Sailing Centre will be an asset to Auckland and New Zealand and we are continuing to work towards this objective.

The Takapuna Reserve Management Plan allows for a revised version of the initially proposed NOWSC (National Ocean Water Sports Centre) and currently the Harbour Access Trust (HAT) and Yachting New Zealand (YNZ) are working towards having preliminary plans for a new-look National Sailing Centre on the Northern Beach Reserve at Takapuna available for public viewing as part of lodging a notified resource consent in late June. As we move forward YNZ welcomes open and inclusive consultation and planning.

A number of unforeseen issues have led HAT and YNZ to conclude that the original site on the Strand and backing onto Gould Reserve was no longer a viable option. Cost and access were the most significant, including the additional cost associated with realigning the Southern Cross Cable.

Additionally the project was denied suitable and necessary access across private land and a viable and cost effective means of maintaining existing traffic access through the Strand could not be found. Projected construction costs increased due to the building having to sustain the additional above ground weight of trucks and buildings increased the funded budget by an additional 30%.

HAT and YNZ acknowledge that alternative sites have been proposed and have considered them in relation to cost, suitability and being 'fit for purpose’. Yachting New Zealand remains focused on delivering the National Sailing Centre on the northern end of the reserve.

Auckland Council will retain ownership of all the reserve land and a lease, covering the land area to be occupied by the National Sailing Centre, will be entered into with Council.

While we acknowledge differing opinions amongst locals, YNZ does believe that there are numerous tangible benefits to the Community in the new Plan. An additional 85% of the existing reserve, not previously publically accessible, will be opened up with the proposed National Sailing Centre occupying less than 15%. New public facilities including community meeting and storage space, showers, changing, toilets and children’s playground will enhance the public waterfront experience. We believe the waterfront development will provide financial stimulus to the local community and endorse our reputation as a world class destination.

This proposal is a one off development and is not seen as opening the door for future development on reserve land as any future proposals of this nature on public reserve land will have to pass the same level of scrutiny as has been required of this project.

As will be demonstrated in the preliminary plans, the revised proposed National Sailing Centre is a single level structure with the rooftop running off Alison Avenue allowing much improved access to the beach, greater public amenity and better public viewing areas no matter what an individual’s level of mobility is. This more sensitive level of design will reduce the impact on the reserve by approximately 1300sqm.

HAT and YNZ acknowledge that there are a range of opinions relating to the use of the site including those who wish to see the campground remain. The decision on whether the campground would stay or not was entirely in the hands of the Auckland Council. YNZ fully respect the public concerns but had no influence over the Council decision not to renew the lease on the campground or include it in the Reserve Management Plan. The Auckland Council proposal sees the area of open, waterfront reserve land to which the public visitor has unlimited access and improved recreational abilities increase by approximately 7000 square metres from what is currently there, and we see that as a great thing.

Constitutionally, YNZ must remain fair and unbiased and cannot be based within an existing yacht club. YNZ will work alongside and with any affiliated club and/or organisation whose strategies are aligned and an example of this is our partnership with the Millennium Institute where additional athlete services, medical, physiotherapy, and strength and conditioning support are provided eliminating the need to reproduce these services in Takapuna.

HAT and YNZ believes that this is the best site, and an appropriate use of this site, being fit for purpose, affordable within the funding sources and capable of providing the best integrated facility for all identified users while at the same time returning the bulk of the reserve area to the community. We also accept the need for a more open and inclusive planning process and will further consult and engage all interested parties with a vested right and interest in the development.

The full consulting team of architects, planners, traffic, landscape, engineering and legal advisors have been briefed with a view to lodging the notified resource consent application by the end of June 2014. The publically notified resource consent will allow the public to have their say on the proposal as part of the Resource Management Act process. Our plans will comply within the provisions of the operative Takapuna Beach Reserve Management Plan and be consistent with the underlying land zoning requirements.

The operative Takapuna Beach Reserve Management Plan and the underlying zoning of the site are the key determinates in what is able to be developed on the northern reserve site and the National Sailing Centre proposal respects and is in line with the intent of those provisions. Yachting in New Zealand is in great shape. Our most recent Club Survey demonstrates increased Club membership across the country including in the junior and youth age groups.

New Zealand’s Youth and Olympic squads are amongst the best we have ever had and the fleets racing in regattas like Oceanbridge Sail Auckland are world class. International sailors come to compete and train in New Zealand to be with the best in the World. More young people want to emulate the successes of our Youth and Olympic athletes and work incredibly hard to perform at the highest level and develop into fine New Zealanders who make their country proud.

YNZ’s High Performance programme is thriving and in 2013, New Zealand was the most successful nation in Olympic class sailing with three world champions, seven more in the top ten of their event and two medals at Youth World Championships. Our programme is focussed on winning medals at the Olympics and making New Zealander’s proud. NZL Sailing Team sailors all started out at grass roots yacht clubs around the country and with commitment, dedication and drive have risen to be world class athletes.

National Training Centres are proven to breed success and the Rowing and Cycling National Training Centres at Karapiro, and the AIS in Australia are examples of this. These Centres are built to provide world class daily training environments for athletes and coaches.

Ours is not an elite sport, one only has to visit any yacht and boating club around the country on a weekend to witness amazing children and their families doing what they love in boats that are affordable and accessible to any New Zealander. Sailing is a sport for life, not a one off opportunity and our sport has produced leaders and role models like Sir Peter Blake, Grant Dalton, Chris Bouzaid and many others.


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