The Howick Local Board has granted landowner approval to a trust proposing to build a water sports facility in east Auckland.
The board voted on the item at its recent monthly business meeting.
A report provided to the board states the Highbrook Regional Watersports Centre Charitable Trust sought approval to construct a water sports centre in East Tamaki, as well as an agreement to lease the land from Auckland Council, which owns the Highbrook Drive site.
Specialist council staff members assessed the application and supported it.
Recommendations put to the board were that it grant landowner approval to the trust to construct the facility; a licence to occupy for the tenant-built car park and access ways, boat ramp, hardstands and pontoon areas; and an agreement-to-lease to the trust for five years on specified terms.
The terms include that funding be secured for the facility’s complete development on or before July 1, 2026, and prior to any works commencing.
“Construction of the proposed water sports facility will take approximately 12 months to complete however may be undertaken in stages over a five-year period,” the report says.
“The building will house clubrooms and storage facilities for the trust.
“The trust would also sub-lease parts of the building to schools and community organisations to operate rowing and waka ama, and other kindred activities from the site and buildings.”
Part of the trust’s purpose is to oversee delivery of programmes that encourage the growth of outrigger canoeing, rowing and other flat-water sports in Auckland.
The facility would be located at Highbrook Esplanade Reserve, which provides access to the Tamaki River.
The report states that as part of the resource consent process, the applicant sent a letter detailing the proposal to nine iwi groups.
Following mana whenua engagement, the trust has developed an ongoing relationship with local iwi Ngai Tai ki Tamaki, which has included discussions around the pre-works archaeological investigation and a site blessing.
The board went on to vote in favour of the recommendation.
Chairperson Damian Light says it’s proud to support the waters ports centre, “which will be a significant asset at both a local and regional level”.
“When complete, it will enable more people to be involved in outrigger canoeing, rowing and other flat-water sports,” he told the Times.
“We’re fortunate to have amazing local sportspeople in the Howick Local Board area and facilities like this attract even more.
“The trust behind the project is well represented by both regional and local organisations.
“Not only will it be a fantastic asset from sports, recreational and cultural perspectives but it will also connect people with our amazing natural environment and help boost the local economy.”
Light says the landowner approval and lease marks a major milestone in the project’s journey, which has its roots in a 2007 study intended to find the best location for regional flat-water sports facilities.
“It’s great to see this project continue to make good progress and we’re grateful for the work the Highbrook Regional Watersports Centre Charitable Trust, and its predecessors, has been doing to drive this project forward.”