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Auckland Council considering future uses of golf courses

Author
NZ Herald,
Section
National,
Publish Date
Wednesday, 12 September 2018, 2:56PM
Auckland Council owns 10 golf courses valued at $2.3 billion. (Photo / Getty)
Auckland Council owns 10 golf courses valued at $2.3 billion. (Photo / Getty)

The Auckland Council is looking at possible alternative uses for some of the city's golf courses in the future - including opening them up to the public for park use.

Analysis also includes identifying the potential use of each individual golf course for agricultural use, mixed use and also looking at the potential value of land if it were to be used for housing.

But the Council is adamant - there are no plans to sell golf courses, it says.

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.''

A total of 12 council-owned or managed golf courses were included in the investment framework to look at the current state and future council investment in golf in Auckland.

A 13th golf course, on Great Barrier Island, was not included as it does not face the same pressures others do, the Council said.

Mayor Phil Goff said the 13-council owned or managed golf courses were a major asset for the city and were valued at about $3 billion .

A meeting with members from New Zealand Golf this week had been very constructive and had included sharing views and ideas about how to get the best results from them, he said.

"One idea that we agreed to explore was opening up access to the over 500ha of open space that golf courses occupy to the wider public.

"This could involve - as in the case of the famous St Andrews Golf Course in the UK - allowing the public to use the areas as parks on Sundays.

"Another idea was creating walk and cycle corridors through golf courses, subject to safety and practical considerations. These are exciting ideas to explore.''

In a statement released today, the Council said it would be continuing engagement with key stakeholders and members of the public about the issue.