IMPORTANT - Fort Takapuna and North Head sites under threat!

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The Department of Conservation have recently released their draft Auckland Conservation Management Strategy (CMS) for consultation. This document sets forward the policies that DOC will use to administer the areas of land that they are responsible for in Auckland over the next 10 years, which includes popular flying sites at Moirs Hill, Fort Takapuna and North Head.

 

Of concern to all club members will be the proposed new policies that specifically ban any paragliding activity at Fort Takapuna, and which would appear to exclude hang gliding at North Head while being somewhat wishy-washy about the right for paragliders to fly there as well.

 

Policy 2.14.4 in the CMS states "Should not allow aircraft landings on or take-offs of non-motorised aircraft from Fort Takapuna Historic Reserve, to protect its recreation and amenity values, and visitor safety."

This is quite clearly aimed at our use of Fort Takapuna for paragliding, with the justifications of 'visitor safety' and 'amenity values' being weak at best.

 

Policy 2.14.8 concerns North Head and states "May allow the use of non-motorised aircraft limited to parapenting, model gliders and kites, subject to this activity avoiding any adverse effects on the safety and enjoyment of other visitors, and subject to the criteria in Policy 3.4.2 in Part Three."


The concerning aspects to this policy from my point of view are:

a) The language used. The policy says that DOC may allow paragliding at North Head, presumably giving them the option to revoke this permission without having to consult with us. I would like to see language that better reflected our existing use rights and that acknowledged that we act responsibly and don't inconvenience other recreational users.  

 

b) That no mention is made of hang gliding. The policy as currently written would effectively ban hang gliders from using North Head as a launch site.

 

c) The reference to Policy 3.4.2, which is only relevant to powered aircraft and which states that "landings should not occur within 50 m of tracks, huts or car parks". If this was adhered to then we wouldn't be able to top-land at North Head.

 

What can you do?

Fortunately this document is currently a draft and DOC is seeking feedback on these proposed changes. I encourage all members who want to still be able to fly at these iconic coastal sites to take the time to put in a personal submission in opposition to these policies. An official submission will be put forward from the AHGPC but the more people who comment on these policies, the better the chances of ensuring that DOC re-evaluates them. If we don't defend our right to use these sites now then we run the very real risk of losing them permanently.

 

The opportunity to put in a submission closes on Friday 15 March and instructions on how to do so can be found here:

http://www.doc.govt.nz/getting-involved/consultations/current/auckland-c...

 

The actual Conservation Management Strategy can be downloaded as a pdf here:

http://www.doc.govt.nz/Documents/getting-involved/consultations/2012/cms...

 

Cheers,

Graham.

 

 

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