Commissioner approves toilet for Ohingaroa Bay

CATHIE BELL
Last updated 10:24 03/07/2014

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An independent planning commissioner has approved the Marlborough District Council's proposal to build a public toilet at Ohingaroa Bay in Kenepuru Sound.

The decision grants a resource consent to the council to put a public toilet on reserve land next to Kenepuru Rd at Ohingaroa Bay.

The commissioner, Jeremy Butler, said he was satisfied that there was a need for the toilet, and that any adverse effect on the environment would be minor.

"There is clearly and inevitably fouling at times in the reserve which is of significant concern. Any reduction in fouling is a positive environmental and amenity outcome."

In a decision made public this week, Butler said concerns raised by opponents included the potential for odour, the visual impact and consistency with the objectives and policies of the council's Marlborough Sounds Resource Management Plan.

However, the council planned to move the toilet to the middle of the reserve, rather than placing it by the road, and appropriate planting and weed control would screen it from the view of neighbours and the public, he said.

Odour was "very unlikely" to be detected from any neighbouring houses.

The toilet would provide a valuable public service, Butler said.

"It will allow for people to more readily enjoy their recreation on the reserve and when using the reserve as an entry point for boating in Kenepuru Sound.

"Overall, I am satisfied that the adverse effects on the environment will be minor."

The proposal was not inconsistent with the provisions of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement and the Sounds resource management plan," Butler said.

Ohingaroa Bay resident Leicester Bull, who has a kayaking business next to the reserve, said the decision was a good one. He supported a public toilet, saying he and his wife often saw fouling at the reserve.

Another resident, Lindsay MacKay, who opposed the council's application, said yesterday he did not want to comment "at this stage".

Ohingaroa Bay is about 7 kilometres, or 10 minutes' drive, from the turnoff at Linkwater. There is a cluster of about 20 houses in the bay.

Butler said he visited the site at the end of March.

People opposing the decision have 15 working days to appeal against it to the Environment Court.

The council also has to get a building consent before work can start.

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- The Marlborough Express

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