Time taken to fix sign irks owner

Aspiring Campervan Park owner Richard Hutchison, with the felled Queenstown Lakes District Council sign and his own ''illegal'' sign. Photo by Mark Price.
Aspiring Campervan Park owner Richard Hutchison, with the felled Queenstown Lakes District Council sign and his own ''illegal'' sign. Photo by Mark Price.
A Wanaka holiday park owner yesterday blasted the Queenstown Lakes District Council over the time it took to fix a felled signpost.

Richard Hutchison owns the Aspiring Campervan Park in Studholme Rd and relies on the blue and white council-owned sign to show tourists where to turn off Mt Aspiring Rd.

The sign was vandalised on New Year's Day, and Mr Hutchison told the Otago Daily Times yesterday he contacted the home of deputy mayor Lyal Cocks, who lives nearby.

Mr Hutchison said it took until yesterday morning for the signpost to be re-erected.

Mr Cocks told the ODT when Mr Hutchison rang his home he was at the Wanaka rodeo, but passed on the message to council staff the following day.

The signpost was fixed yesterday - the first day of the new working week.

''I did the best I could for him, and it was fixed first thing Monday morning.''

Mr Hutchison said while he was waiting for the signpost to be re-erected he placed his own sign at the intersection.

However, he was paid a visit by a council employee who told him he was liable for a $20,000 fine.

Mr Hutchison said he believed the council was doing ''everything possible to put me out of business''.

Mr Cocks said the council was ''definitely not trying to shut down any businesses''.

Mr Hutchison's sign did not comply with the district plan and if he wanted the policy changed he needed to work through the review of the plan, Mr Cocks said.

Mr Hutchison said in the 16 years he had been in business, he had several times taken issue with the council over its ''crazy'' signage policies which he considered out of date and out of step with the rest of the world.

He considered signs should have the names of accommodation establishments.

''Having no names is ridiculous.''

He described the generic blue and white signs as ''absolutely ludicrous'' and ''tourist unfriendly''.

Mr Cocks said the debate over signs had gone on for years.

''If you go to Las Vegas, their rules are totally different to ours. Does Wanaka want to be like Las Vegas?''Mr Cocks said he could ''write a book'' on the debate that had taken place over signage.

mark.price@odt.co.nz