Browsing Golf Industry NewsVIEW ALL

Mayor apologises for uproar caused by golf course plan

POSTED ON June 7, 2018 @ 4:20 pm

The New Plymouth mayor’s flip-flop over a proposal to sell part of a coastal reserve – including the city’s only municipal golf course – is complete.

At an extraordinary meeting of New Plymouth District Council today, Mayor Neil Holdom recommended the plan to carve up Peringa Reserve and the Fitzroy Golf Course be dropped from its long-term plan.

Mr Holdom apologised to the council and about 100 people in the public gallery for provoking an angry reaction from ratepayers and causing confusion and worry.

“Our approach could have been better and for those of you who were stressed or angered by our draft plans please accept my sincerest apologies,” Mr Holdom said.

“We wanted to start a big conversation but we never wanted to cause anxiety or stress in the lives of our people but we did that and I was a leading driver of that and for that I am truly sorry.”

The council adopted the mayor’s recommendation to drop the land sale from the long-term plan along with plans to redevelop the city’s indoor sports arena and aquatic centre

Mr Holdom had wanted to sell the reserve land to housing developers for $35 million.

Half of the money would have been used to fund upgrades to a “flagship” project such as the sports arena or aquatic centre, the rest was to go to establishing a council-owned property development company.

Fitzroy golf course on the coast in New Plymouth.

Fitzroy golf course on the coast in New Plymouth. Photo: RNZ / Robin Martin

The proposal prompted a huge public reaction and more than 4000 public submissions were made to council’s long-term plan – the most in the country – and the overwhelming majority were against the idea.

At today’s meeting Craig Williamson – a leader of the Save the Fitzroy Golf Course and Public Recreational Reserve movement – also presented council with a petition against the land sale signed by more than 4000 people.

Mr Holdom said he had campaigned on the reserve land sale in 2016 and had listened to ratepayers and was happy to walk away from the idea.

“I did exactly what I said I would do. We took it out there and the feedback from the community was, ‘yes, a lot of us would like projects but fundamentally we don’t want to pay for them’,” Mr Holdom said.

“So while I put out a position, that position was not reflected by the majority of our community and I believe it is the duty of this council to reflect the majority of the community’s view.

“And I’m comfortable with turning around on this because I said I would when I brought it to the table.”

But the council baulked at a proposal from councillor Shaun Biesiek to immediately begin negotiations with the Fitzroy Golf Club about renewing its lease.

Mr Biesiek said it was the least the council could do after the anxiety the club had been put through.

“What this does is give them certainty that the golf club will be going nowhere … and it’s setting things right as well, and it’s sending a clear message that we won’t be selling any reserves that a golf club is on,” Mr Biesiek said.

Mr Williamson said he was happy that the reserve land sale was dropped from the long-term plan but disappointed the negotiations on the golf club’s lease had not been brought forward.

He was more damning of the long-term plan process.

“My God what a shambles. Honestly it was terrible. It was a shambles from start to finish. People weren’t consulted, it seemed ad hoc,” Mr Williamson said.

“It don’t think that anybody sitting around that (council) table or in this building will be proud of the way it’s panned out and hopefully lessons will be learned.”

Mr Williamson said he did not accept that Mayor Holdom had campaigned on the reserve land sale issue in 2016.

“No, he didn’t campaign on those issues. He campaigned on them in a by-election in 2015 which he lost. In 2016, he barely mentioned the reserve land and the golf course,” he said.

“He may have a different recollection of that, but no he did not put that front and centre of his election campaign.”

Comments are closed.


CLICK HERE TO Sign Up for the GIC Newsletter for all the latest Industry News.

Please enter your details:

I am interested in:

  • News
  • Operations
  • Marketing
  • Recruitment / Jobs
  • Grow the Game
Golf Industry Central Grow the Game Central Golf Recruitment Central Golf Operations Central

Council cease support for proposed aged-care development at ...

Last week Brisbane City Council decided to scrap...

2018 GMANZ Conference – 120 days to go...

“Innovate->Change-> Success->” Attend the Conference and stay over...

“The Boys Are Back In Town” – Gregg Patterson and ...

Gregg Patterson and Norm Spitzig are back this...

Emirates Australian Open to feature All Abilities Championship...

A world-first championship for golfers with a disability will be contested during this year’s Emirates Australian Open in Sydney. On the same...

Troon International Appointed By Brookwater Golf And Country Club...

Troon International is delighted to announce its latest partnership with Brookwater Golf and Country Club, Queensland’s premium golfing destination. The spectacular 18-hole,...

Mayor apologises for uproar caused by golf course plan...

The New Plymouth mayor’s flip-flop over a proposal to sell part of a coastal reserve – including the city’s only municipal golf...

NZ Golf CEO Dean Murphy wins coveted NZ leadership award...

New Zealand Golf CEO, Dean Murphy, was awarded the C.K. Doig Leadership Award during the annual New Zealand Sport and Recreation Awards...

Record Participation in Women’s Golf Day...

The world came together for the third annual celebration of women and girls golf – Women’s Golf Day (WGD)...

Vale: Bill Yates – “The Guru of Pace of Play”...

International slow play expert and Founder of the transformational Pace Manager Systems®, William Morrison Yates, Jr. (Bill), sadly passed away...

Hills sign MOU with Jababeka Golf Club and The President Universi...

Hills Golf Academy in Jimboomba, Queensland has struck an agreement with Jababeka Golf Club and The President University Foundation...

Golfplan to break ground on Singapore renovation, at Seletar...

Seletar Country Club has selected Golfplan to direct a sweeping, $20 million renovation to begin this summer — no...

NZ Golf CEO Dean Murphy wins coveted NZ leadership award...

New Zealand Golf CEO, Dean Murphy, was awarded the C.K. Doig Leadership Award during the annual New Zealand Sport...

Suspected drug smuggler busted in Perth with golf-club shafts loa...

Golf-club shafts are often associated with speed. But coke…? According to police in Western Australia, a suspected drug smuggler...