Owner pleads for 'log cabin'

Simon and Danni Stewart say if Wanaka's distinctive ''log cabin'' (at rear) is removed from the lakefront, as proposed in the draft Wanaka Lakefront Reserves Management Plan, it would destroy their business, which operates from the building. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
Simon and Danni Stewart say if Wanaka's distinctive ''log cabin'' (at rear) is removed from the lakefront, as proposed in the draft Wanaka Lakefront Reserves Management Plan, it would destroy their business, which operates from the building. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
Losing Wanaka's distinctive ''log cabin'' building from the lakefront would spell disaster for Simon Stewart's business, he told the Wanaka Community Board yesterday.

Mr Stewart made an emotional plea to the board during its public forum to leave the log cabin where it is, so his and wife Danni's company Lakeland Adventures could continue its lakefront operations.

The business runs recreational water activities from the log cabin, which is owned by the couple.

However, their long-term lease of the reserve land on which the building sits expires in mid-2017.

Under the Queenstown Lakes District Council's draft Wanaka Lakefront Reserves Management Plan, now out for public consultation, the council would investigate opportunities to create more open space in the area opposite the town's retail centre.

This would include removing commercial facilities from the Roys Bay Reserve that could otherwise occupy non-reserve land at the end of existing leases or licence terms.

The policy would directly impact the log cabin, which was built in 1998. Other smaller buildings occupied the lakefront site for many decades before that.

The Stewarts have owned the business for about nine years.

''I'm pleading. I want to continue there. History would finish if there was not a supporting building for the waterfront,'' Mr Stewart told the board.

''I'm a bit emotional about it ... I'm sorry. I need that building there ... I have more to lose than any other person being the only business on the foreshore. Can council just cut me off at the knees?''

Lakeland Adventures has consent to continue operating beyond the lease end date, but the Stewarts say the log cabin is crucial to the business as dozens of kayaks, aqua bikes and other water ''toys'' are stored in the building.

''If we lose that building, then I might as well pack up and go and the only other options would be to sell most of the business and run a few kayaks from trailers ...

"Does the council want that? I doubt that because I would be going for the biggest truck and trailer I could manage and my consents say I could.''

Board chairwoman Rachel Brown urged Mr Stewart to make a submission on the draft plan, which he said he planned to do.

She stressed the plan was a ''working document'' still under discussion and it was the board's challenge to engage the public as much as possible.

QLDC general manager operations Ruth Stokes told the Otago Daily Times it would not be appropriate to comment on Mr Stewart's situation with the draft plan now under consultation.

''The consultation process gives everyone the opportunity to put their views and concerns to the council,'' she said.

The consultation period was recently extended by a month to June 6 with a hearing to follow.

The Lake Wanaka i-SITE Visitor Information Centre was also based in the log cabin until it moved to larger premises late last year.

lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz

Remove the building

Seriously, Move the business. Create open spaces council. The business will survive in other formats.