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Fire at closed Auckland golf course sees shop go up in flames

POSTED ON May 20, 2024 @ 9:54 am

A fire at Auckland’s Gulf Harbour Country Club in the early morning has seen its golf shop go up in flames.

The Whangaparāoa Peninsula course, which hosted the New Zealand Golf Open in 2005 and 2006, was closed ‘with immediate effect’ in July last year. Residents have vowed to fight the decision.

A spokesperson for Fire and Emergency New Zealand (FENZ) said it received multiple calls to the fire just before 3am.

Firefighters arrived to find a fire at the club’s golf shop. The blaze was put out just before 4am.

A fire investigator will be heading to the scene.

“Police are currently carrying out a scene examination and would encourage anyone with information to contact police.”

A spokesperson for the group Keep Whangaparāoa’s Green Spaces (KWGS) Howard Baldwin said since being abandoned the club has been vandalised and heavily graffitied. Baldwin said this is because the clubhouse has not been fenced off by the owner.

The club and its redevelopment has sparked a strong reaction from local residents who formed a society to challenge any possible redevelopment into housing.

Auckland Councillor John Watson said people had broken in and caused damage to the abandoned club in the past.

“There’s been a degree of vandalism,” he said. “People have broken in and vandalised things.”

Some parts of it had been boarded up, but its isolated location surrounded by golf course meant it was a sitting duck for break-ins.

The council could play no role in securing the building, as it was still private property, said Watson.

“The council has certainly been made aware, has made inspections at times, but it is still the responsibility of the owner.”

He said the feeling among locals was that it was being left to degrade as part of an eventual plan to turn the land into housing, which many locals strongly opposed.

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