Future of quake-hit camp in doubt

KEEN TO STAY: South Brighton Holiday Park lessee Lyn Pilling, centre, and long-term residents Deidre McGowan, left, and ...
JOSEPH JOHNSON/ Fairfax NZ

KEEN TO STAY: South Brighton Holiday Park lessee Lyn Pilling, centre, and long-term residents Deidre McGowan, left, and Ngaire Fyffe, right, fear the park could be closed.

The Christchurch City Council is considering closing the popular South Brighton Holiday Park because of the high cost of fixing the quake-damaged land and buildings.

A council document that forms part of the draft Long Term Plan adopted by city councillors last week says extensive damage has rendered the future of the camp "precarious".

It estimates the council could save between $2.3 million and $3m in capital expenditure if it closed the park.

Lessees Lyn Pilling and Dom Brownin are questioning those figures, and say the council seems hell-bent on closing the camp even though it attracts visitors and money to the area.

Pilling and Brownin have run the holiday park since 2005, but they have been operating on a month-by-month lease for more than three years.

"You can't operate a business like that - it's just killing us," Brownin said.

The couple could not walk away from the business because they had invested significantly.

They had had no formal contact with the council since January 2014 and had been unable to progress their plans.

"Our financials are great and the business is very strong. We could easily stand on our own two feet without the council," Brownin said.

The future of the park has been in doubt since the earthquakes. Nearly two years ago the council announced it was shutting the park down because the amenity block that housed the kitchen, shower and toilets had a seismic capacity of less than 34 per cent of the new building standard.

Ad Feedback

That announcement prompted a political and public uproar and, within two days, the council reversed its decision.

It put a temporary amenities block in place so the park, which is popular with overseas visitors, could remain open.

Council recreation and sports manager John Filsell said yesterday the park's close proximity to the epicentre of the February 2011 earthquake meant there had been significant damage, not just to the buildings, but to the land, the roads and underground services.

The council was gathering all the information it needed to make a decision and he expected it would be in a position to make that call within months.

"Rather than this coming like a bolt out of the the blue, we wanted to foreshadow we are approaching decision-making time," Filsell said.

Brownin and Pilling questioned the council's assessment of the damage to the park, and said the 20 permanent residents would be heartbroken if the council closed it.

Ngaire and Nigel Fyffe, who have lived at the holiday park for more than 10 years, said they would be devastated if they had to leave. Their neighbour Deidre McGowan, who has lived at the park for nearly six years, said the council would have a fight on its hands if it decided to close the park.

 - The Press

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback