Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Time up for popular beach chalets

Takapuna's waterfront camping ground gets a stay of execution, but not its one-bedroom units

Melissa and David Middleton have been making the most of their stay at Takapuna. Photo / Richard Robinson
Melissa and David Middleton have been making the most of their stay at Takapuna. Photo / Richard Robinson

Takapuna's beachfront camping ground is having a record summer for guests but is battling to keep its five chalets which boast million-dollar sea views for $125 a night.

The one-bedroom chalets built only a decade ago need to be removed by January 29 because their resource consent expires on that date.

Losing the chalets would have a serious impact on the camp business at its summer peak, said proprietor Marius Rothmann.

The holiday park has run on a month-to-month basis since its Auckland Council lease on the waterfront reserve expired last March.

But Mr Rothmann said the camp served a record 3,209 guests in December and January bookings were similar, at 90 per cent full or better for tent and caravan sites.

He was applying for a new resource consent for the chalets because they were seldom empty.

The future of the 80-year-old camping ground looked grim last May when it was shut out of a spot in the reviewed reserve management plan for the 1.5km stretch of what many say is New Zealand's best urban beach.

The plan confirmed the chalets and the manager's house must go, without right of extension. Under pressure from supporters of the camp, the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board allowed scope for the holiday park to continue on a reduced footprint, possibly for a few more summers.

A Save the Takapuna Beach Holiday Park Facebook page received more than 9,000 "likes" and the plan reviewers received a petition of 2,037 signatures.

Local board chairman Mike Cohen said there was still a high level of controversy about the future of the northern section of the reserve where the camping ground is.

The board was reinvestigating how to accommodate demands for camping and boating and to protect public open space. At the park yesterday, guests included a North Shore couple who were enjoying a few weeks' stay there as a warm-up for touring New Zealand in a camper bus.

"We keep extending our stay because we think everything is here," said Melissa and David Middleton.

"Every morning we do the seaside walk to Milford and we have taken the kayaks to Rangitoto Island, been wind-surfing, and on Saturday the beach was packed with people surfing the Takapuna reef break."

Mr Middleton said many of the guests were family groups.

"It would be a shame to see something as unique as this disappear."

- NZ Herald

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