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Matarangi ratepayers overwhelmingly in favour of The Dunes Golf Course being designated "Open Space"

BY Stephan Bosman

Matarangi | Wed January 31, 2018

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Matarangi ratepayers voted overwhelmingly at the Matarangi Ratepayers Association Incorporated (MRAI) AGM that was held on Monday this week (29 January) to support the MRAI’s position that the Dunes Golf Course in Matarangi should be designated as “Open Space” in the new Thames Coromandel District Council District Plan.

The MRAI’s position corresponds with the decision version of the new District Plan that was released last year.

Golf (2012) Limited, the owner of The Dunes Golf Course, has appealed the Open Space designation to the Environment Court. The company says in their appeal that the designation will mean that the golf course is incapable of what is termed “reasonable use” in section 85 of the Resource Management Act.

Mike Siemelink, the sole director of Golf (2012) Limited wrote, in his capacity as “owner” of The Dunes Golf Course, to the Matarangi residents on 23 January, inviting them to meet with him at The Dunes clubhouse last Sunday (28 January) to discuss his view on the Open Space designation with them.

According to Mr Siemelink, the designation is similar to a bach owner purchasing a vacant section next door with the intention to build on it at a later stage, but the local council then changing the zoning of the section to the extent that building on it isn’t possible anymore.

An Open Space designation doesn’t mean that The Dunes Golf Course must remain a golf course. It’s the understanding of some members of the Matarangi community that the golf course is operating at a loss.

Land covenants determine that parts of the golf course have to remain as a golf course until 2022 and the remainder until 2024. After that there’s no requirement that the land has to be a golf course.

According to Mr Siemelink, he made a proposal to the MRAI in terms of which a residential development is established on two holes of the golf course, the land on which the clubhouse is situated is developed into, in his words, “greater retail and accommodation facilities” and the rest of the golf course is configured, at his expense, into a somewhat shorter 18 hole golf course.

The MRAI sees Mr Siemelink’s appeal to the Environment Court as a threat to some of the open spaces the residents and ratepayers of Matarangi enjoy at the moment.

The appeal of Golf (2012) Limited is expected to be heard by the Environment Court before the middle of this year.

According to the Companies Office records, Mr Siemelink owns 12.5 per cent of Golf (2012) Limited, his wife, Sheree owns 12.5 per cent and the remainder is owned by FH Trustee Company Limited, a company associated with Auckland law firm, Foley Hughes.

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