Lodge granted resource consent
A resource consent has been granted for an accommodation lodge at Peel Forest amid strong public opposition.
Grant South sought a resource consent for accommodation for up to six guests.
The lodge will be located on an eight-hectare lot, with two further sections created in a 10ha lot he owns and lives on off Blandswood Rd.
A hearing was held early last month by Timaru District Council commissioner Bob Nixon.
Eleven submissions were heard, with 10 in opposition. Submitters have 15 days to appeal against the decision.
In his decision Mr Nixon allowed a further two sections to be created on the 10ha with dwellings on the new sites to have a footprint of 150 square metres and not to be any higher than 5.5m.
The lodge will support Mr South's tourism business Hidden Valleys New Zealand, which offers guided rafting trips and adventure tours.
Homestays for up to five people were permitted within the district plan, however, Mr South proposed living off-site in a new building.
"The level of accommodation proposed in the lodge [with no more than six guests] would only be marginally greater than a permitted homestay," Mr Nixon's decision said.
"My overall conclusion, subject to the imposition of a suite of conditions arising through matters discussed, is the effect of the activity on the environment will be no more than minor."
Neighbour Alan Averis had opposed the application and said previous track work by Mr South had ruined his water supply. The decision noted that this was an informal agreement and Mr Averis would need to consider civil proceedings to get an official easement.
Mr South's airstrip and resulting aircraft noise was also a common theme in submissions. However, the decision said the airstrip was only for personal use and could not be used for commercial activities related to the accommodation.
Submitter David McBride, who is building a bach in the area, estimated the developments would bring 75 more traffic movements to the area each day. The commissioner estimated the traffic movement would only be about 50 a day, taking the traffic in the area from "very small to small".
Mr McBride said yesterday he had not fully considered the application and if he would be challenging it.
Margaret Digby also opposed the lodge, but said yesterday she had not decided if she would appeal against the decision.
Mr South said yesterday he was pleased with the outcome. "I left the hearing after hearing everyone being negative and nasty, so it was good to have the commissioner see through that and consider the real issues. The conditions were pretty much as expected."
- The Timaru Herald