Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Park Life

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  • Susan Snowdon,

    I'm interested in the gender part of this discussion. I know women play golf (yes, I have heard of Lydia), but isn't it more a sport for men? Has anyone looked at how many women compared to men play golf in cities? And how many single older women like to walk (alone or with dogs) and ride bikes in parks rather than meet their mates for golf? Also kids and families tend not to play golf so much. The ra ra about shrinking Chamberlain Park to nine holes makes it look different from this perspective. I'm not looking for an argument here, I understand that we all need our places to play.

    Since Mar 2008 • 109 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Curtis, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    A tragedy of settler society was that it held out a promise that everyone could be a “laird” and take exclusive possession over their domain. Of course, this couldn’t work and you wound up with a tiny minority controlling much of the land.

    You have forgotten that until the inclosure of the commons in England there was more open access including use for agriculture. The lesson there was unless you have title someone with more clout will take if off you.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 314 posts Report Reply

  • matthew,

    Turning chamberlain park into sports fields won't make it any more public. Seddon fields are public in that you can watch for free but membership of the football club costs $250 and use of facilities is not open for the general public.

    Passive recreation. ... in an area blessed by Western springs reserve it hardly seems a priority.

    Cycle track... sure it would be handy but would be a really expensive way of taking resource from one minority group, golfers, and giving it to another equally badly dressed minority with expensive barriers to entry.

    Save chamberlain park!

    For the record while I have swung a club from time to time I'm not a golfer. I am however a user of cricket and soccer facilities so the shortfall infor those sports does affect me considerably.

    The solution is just like housing.... density. Improve existing facilitites and optimise their use. Seddon fields used to be a bog in winter. It would be closed for training most weeks and every second Saturday games would be canceled. Improvements have been made and the available usage hours has increased. Teams are now playing friday and monday nights which takes pressure off other venues like walker park and coxes bay.

    auckland • Since Nov 2013 • 22 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Steve Curtis,

    I hadn't forgotten, that was one of the factors driving British people who'd lost their land to migrate overseas (often with the promise that they could in turn steal land from indigenous people). To my knowledge the concept of common land was not replicated in any settled country, with the possible exception of 17th century North America.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Susan Snowdon,

    I’m interested in the gender part of this discussion.

    The report Russell linked to has stats...p18 has a table with demographic data. Interesting stuff. 24% of golfers are women. Mind you, I've no idea how that compares to rugby.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10579 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to matthew,

    The solution is just like housing…. density. Improve existing facilitites and optimise their use.

    But making it a facility used by a lot more people IS improving it and optimizing its use.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10579 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    somefin' for da yoof?
    ...so what about a free running
    Parkour steeplechase course?

    I'm not gonna push Archery
    Fletchers have enough work....

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7771 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    To my knowledge the concept of common land was not replicated in any settled country, with the possible exception of 17th century North America.

    links?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19573 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    The solution is just like housing…. density. Improve existing facilitites and optimise their use.

    But making it a facility used by a lot more people IS improving it and optimizing its use.

    Yeah. How many people in total play the 51,000 rounds a year at Chamberlain Park? 20,000, tops? It's bigger than Western Springs and the Zoo put together and they're used by hundreds of thousands of people a year. The zoo alone sees half a million. Making the huge publicly-owned space across the road available to more people doing more things -- while adding facilities to the golf course -- still seems like a good idea to me.

    Also, if you completely intensify Fowlds Park and Seddon Fields, you destroy their amenity value for people who have other uses for them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Sacha,

    Counterexamples?

    Anyway, just for you: http://lawschool.unm.edu/nrj/volumes/14/3/03_juergensmeyer_common.pdf

    When English common law property concepts migrated to
    America, the common lands concept barely managed to survive the
    voyage, arriving in a drastically weakened condition

    From an 1833 judgement:

    In this country [USA] such rights [of common] are uncongenial with the genius of our government, and with the spirit of independence which animates our cultivators of the soil

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It's certainly hard to argue for maintaining Chamberlain Park in it's current state based on those numbers although I think you need to be cautious about adopting a "use it or lose it" approach to public amenities.

    Intensive use of existing facilities (all weather fields, floodlights etc.) brings its own set of problems for the surrounding properties of those facilities as well. Noise, traffic, litter etc. that previously might not have been an issue.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Haynes, in reply to matthew,

    Mathew, we've spent countless hours looking at options to increase sportsfield capacity. There are few options in our area, or surrounding areas, thanks to the level of development, the small size of parks, the proximity of residential neighbours and so on. We've actually had to drop some plans to "upgrade" sportsfields (e.g. Warren Freer Park) because of this. Even had we been able to sand carpet or place artificial turf on all possible sportsfields in our area, we would still have a huge shortfall, the biggest in the Auckland region, in ten years time. Believe me, we did not take the decision to look at wider options for Chamberlain lightly. PS As a cricketer you should know that Auckland Cricket say that they are 12 pitches short on the isthmus now (and this will increase with population growth).

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Haynes, in reply to Russell Brown,

    We can only guestimate how many people use the course. Campbell Live interviewed someone who plays five times a week. So 250 is the bottom number and 20,000 probably the top number. But, the Board has already taken a lot of flack from the close neighbours of Fowlds Park for trying to increase the capacity of the sportsfields there for the benefit of rugby league and softball players amoungst others who use the fields. I don't think we'd be looking at any further development there any time soon.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Peter Haynes,

    So 250 is the bottom number and 20,000 probably the top number.

    LOL, that's quite a range. Presumably the course itself could give better numbers. Have they been forthcoming?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10579 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Haynes, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    Glenn, We have been doing just that. But (1) not all schools want to open up their grounds to the public (2) grass sportsfields turn into mud very quickly so any partnerships require putting artificial grass on the fields and the current cost of artificial for a single sportsfield is $1.5m, not including lights (3) in practice the possibilities from such partnerships won't solve the problem. That said, we agreed to another sportsfield partnership with AGS earlier this year.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Haynes, in reply to BenWilson,

    Ben, the figure of 51,000 rounds for the 2013-2014 financial year comes from the operator of the course. But, as I said, noone keeps figures on the number of individual people playing on the course (or any other course as far as I know). The claim about the course being the most popular in Australasia is easily shown to be false. From a report on public courses in Melbourne: "Survey respondents reported for the twelve month period to end December 2013 that approximately 657,000 rounds were recorded for the year. On a facility basis, rounds averaged approximately 38,600, ranging from a low of 9,000 rounds to a high of over 75,000 rounds." Elsewhere in the report statistics put Chamberlain at just below the 75th percentile for the Melbourne public courses. Good, but far from most popular.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Peter Haynes,

    Good, but far from most popular.

    Is it the most popular in Auckland, though?

    But, as I said, noone keeps figures on the number of individual people playing on the course (or any other course as far as I know).

    Presumably they do keep figures on the play of individual members, though, since most members lodge their play cards into databases for handicap calculations. And also they charge different prices, for the most part, to non-members, so their accounting will have different codes for the different tickets sold.

    But yes, I can see that it's prohibitively difficult to keep track of non-member total numbers. Which is an important part of policy making decisions.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10579 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Mark Graham,

    Hi Mark - about the trees. The commission will report back on the notice of requirement by December 17th, with a "recommendation" – which the council is not necessarily bound by. (Hard to know which way the commission will lean; in the part of the hearing I observed, they seemed very interested in testing any claims about the amenity, heritage, or environmental value of the trees, e.g. when exactly the trees were planted, and whether people really enjoy them by walking under them or just gazing from a distance, etc etc.)

    Regardless of the recommendation and the response to it, as I understand it Auckland Transport then still needs permission from the landowner -- which in this case is the Waitemata Local Board, which is adamantly in favour of retaining the trees. So it's a bit of a chess game, in which various parts of Auckland Council play off against each other. And it's not quite over yet!

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Jolisa, in reply to Susan Snowdon,

    Good point about gender; I'll let a club member speak to that. But a sample of one (my mum!) suggests there is a category of older lady golfer who craves a decent 9-hole urban course they could get to straight after or before work (or even at lunchtime!) for a quick round; saving the 18 holes for weekends when it's worth making a longer trip for a longer game.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 1472 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Jolisa,

    But a sample of one (my mum!) suggests there is a category of older lady golfer who craves a decent 9-hole urban course they could get to straight after or before work (or even at lunchtime!) for a quick round; saving the 18 holes for weekends when it’s worth making a longer trip for a longer game.

    This is exactly the trend internationally.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Russell Brown,

    A proper 9 Hole course might be OK, 9-Hole courses do tend to be more towards the pitch-and-putt end of the scale though which might be less acceptable to the golf fans

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Haynes, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    If the picture Russell gave in the picture is accurate then it's mostly what was the back-9 of the original course, which included the longest holes, from memory.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10579 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    A proper 9 Hole course might be OK, 9-Hole courses do tend to be more towards the pitch-and-putt end of the scale though which might be less acceptable to the golf fans

    That’s a good point, and a question worth putting to the board.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    I used to play at Chamberlain and the two hour long queue was part of the culture of the place, it was seriously popular. That would be seven of eight years ago. Then the course was part privatised, sometimes you would get turned away because of club events and green fees were cranked up to be more expensive than other private clubs around Auckland. The council pretty much killed off the egalitarian golf club. If there is an argument it would be to return to the previous system or just bin the whole club. The nine hole option is just like cutting any other sports field in half, do-able but not desirable.

    That said, the golf club does significantly pay for its own upkeep through the green fees and the maintainance costs on sports fields are eye watering ( I was told a modern field needs about $300,000 p.a.) are the users of the soccer, rugby and cricket fields going to be levied on the way in, like the golfers, or will the ratepayers foot the bill?

    Since Mar 2010 • 372 posts Report Reply

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