According to numerous reports this week, Auckland Council is considering potential alternative uses for 12 public golf courses it owns in and around Auckland City. A ‘Golf Facilities Investment Plan’ under development by Council has apparently identified six courses as having potential for residential development. Those courses, Omaha, Takapuna, Waitemata, Chamberlain Park, Remuera and Clarks Beach, are said to be worth around $2 billion collectively. A cost-benefit report identified that each golf course returned virtually nothing back to the council, who are said to want more people using the land in question.
Although council have pointed out that no plans currently exist to sell public golf land in Auckland, the current golf course review includes looking at the value of land for housing, as well as converting golf courses into mixed use areas, parkland or even for agricultural use.
From the Newstalk website came the following:
Work on a Golf Facilities Investment Plan continues; with a draft expected to be finalised by early next year.
"The Golf Facilities Investment Plan will look at a hierarchy model to provide an optimum future network of fit-for-purpose golf facilities that meet the diverse needs of Aucklanders,'' a statement said.
As part of the plan, the Council last year commissioned more research; including the development of a cost-benefit model that would help guide the future investment in golf.
Environment and community committee chair, councillor Penny Hulse, said the investment was not about selling golf courses; but about the better use of golf assets to meet the needs of the community.
"By providing sufficient golf courses and other recreational facilities, we will meet the demands of a fast-growing population.''
Hulse said analysis and data would guide the investment.
"Not all benefits can be quantified - such as the mental health benefits of physical activity and the ecological benefits of good open space management.
"But having a thorough analysis of each site puts the council in a much better position to meet the changing needs of Auckland communities and deliver a wider range of benefits for all.''
The Newstalk article also pointed out that New Zealand Golf representatives had been involved in discussions with the Auckland council, and even suggested that some public golf land could be opened up for non-golf usage at certain times. The example given was St Andrews in Scotland, which remains public access on a Sunday but is closed as a golf course.
by Darius Oliver
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