Consent issues may halt hotel plans
Just weeks after opening its doors, a beleaguered Bluff boutique hotel looks to be shutting up shop, causing seven people to lose their jobs, because of a raft of problems they say the Invercargill City Council has inflicted on them.
James and Simon Cavanagh put a conditional offer on the Lands End Boutique Hotel in November and started decorating and refurbishing it last month.
They opened the bistro doors for customers and were hoping to open the hotel to guests as well.
But just weeks after opening, they closed because of consent issues they faced and ongoing battles with the council, James Cavanagh said.
Now it looks as though the couple will walk away from their dream property if the consents are not issued to the previous owners by January 16.
"We stand to lose about $250,000."
Owner Mary McIntosh said she and her husband Rob were unaware the pair planned to pull out of the contract and did not want to comment without consulting a lawyer.
The Cavanaghs said they were now selling the furnishings they bought for the hotel on their Facebook page and planned to pull out of the sale and purchase agreement on Thursday, before returning to Australia to pursue suing the city council.
"We are pulling out of the contract and then we are going to tackle the council and then we will sue."
Invercargill City Council building regulation services manager Simon Tonkin said the council had not been approached by any lawyers on the Cavanaghs' behalf.
"No one has come anywhere near us," he said.
The Cavanaghs said they were plagued with ongoing delays and issues with the city council and had spoken with their solicitor.
The pair were hoping to recoup some of their losses when the owners sold the hotel.
It was disappointing that people were trying to attract businesses to Invercargill and the surrounds, but the council was so difficult to deal with, they said.
"We are wanting to get out of this now while we are still above water."
The closure of the business would mean seven Bluff residents would lose their jobs, he said.
Mr Tonkin said a building inspector had visited Bluff on Thursday at the wish of the owners because of three outstanding consents, but the owners and the couple had not managed to complete those parts of the building up to the required level.
Several different aspects of the building did not meet the standards, he said.
The inspector then compiled a list for both the couple and the previous owners to complete so they could sign off on the building, he said.
"I would definitely say they [inspectors] have gone out of their way to help them."
Bluff Community Board chairman Raymond Fife said while the loss of the business for the community was "a blow", he did not know what was going on.
"I can't really comment because it is an issue between the owners and the Invercargill City Council," he said.