COOKS LANDOWNER SEEKS RETURN OF GOLF COURSE PROPERTY

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RAROTONGA, Cook Islands (Cook Islands News, November 24) – The Black Rock resort scheme proposed by the Rarotongan owner Tata Crocombe aims to get rid of the Rarotonga Golf Course.

Chairman of the Ngati Arera family, Tangi Kokaua, says he understands the development proposal by resort owner Tata Crocombe is still on the table.

He says this will be considered later as the family is awaiting incorporation in preparations for negotiations with government for the return of their land in Pokoinu.

Crocombe said in the written proposal, dated 28 October 2005, that the land had been set aside by government for the purpose of building a wireless telegraph station which is no longer necessary with the introduction of satellite systems.

Pokoinu Section 107 was taken under warrant by government in 1912 and has remained Crown land since.

The land in question includes half of the old Nikao quarry, the golf club and course, the government quarter acre currently occupied by Sir Pupuke Robati, government houses on Harley Street, Blackrock preschool, and the social centre.

Over the past year, Crocombe has declined to comment on The Rarotongan Beach Resort & Spa development proposal for Pokoinu section 107.

"As the Cook Islands leading tourism accommodators, we propose to develop these lands," he told the family in his letter.

Ngati Arera family members have apparently never seen actual plans for the proposed developments to the land.

Crocombe has told landowners that the golf club lease expired in 1990 and if they develop the land they will let the club lease it for up to five years. During that five years he wants the right to establish another golf course in Rarotonga.

In developing the land Crocombe is offering to put $100,000 into the public beach (social centre) for showers, toilets, shelters, and barbeque pits. He is also offering to grant a 'life' interest on Robati's section, a 20-year sublease to the Blackrock preschool, and a use permit for up to two years for existing government buildings.

Kokaua says the family will soon become incorporated with 11 representatives from each family branch already appointed.

He said once the family is able to get the land back from government they will then consider what to do with the land.

In his proposal, Crocombe has offered to cover the legal costs and other expenses of presenting the incorporation's case to government for the return of the land.

Another landowner, Rairi Rairi, says he thought the proposal was 'fading away' and that it seemed the families were no longer interested in it.

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