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Outside help sought for Waiheke decision

Park decision reversed

Published: 1 October 2018

A decision to have the members of Waiheke Local Board make up a committee to decide the future of Rangihoua Reserve and Onetangi Sports Park has been overturned.

Instead, the committee will now be made up of chair Cath Handley and members John Meeuwsen and Shirrin Brown, alongside Great Barrier Local Board Chair Izzy Fordham.

They will develop a draft management plan, decide on its scope and consult with Ngati Paoa, the Rangihoua and Tawaipareira Committee, and the community.

The area includes the island’s golf course and the original decision was revisited because board member Bob Upchurch says he should not take part.

“After advice from Auckland Council’s integrity unit that even a perception of bias could be reason enough for exclusion, I have decided I cannot take part.

“I have been involved with the sports fields since their purchase and layout, I’m a life member of the rugby club, and I’ve been playing golf since 2002.

“There is no doubt we need a management plan and we should get on and do it, but I don’t want to be a conduit for challenges to it when it is eventually decided.”

The change means board deputy chair Paul Walden, who is on leave of absence, will also not be on the committee.

Member Shirrin Brown says that’s a loss because both members have extensive knowledge about the issues involved.

“Anyone who goes on the panel needs to do so with an open mind. Countless hours have already been spent on this and the process can only work if people focus on achieving something the community can live with.”