Harbour hole-in-one challenge approved

Peter Graham has won consent for a hole-in-one golf challenge on Otago Harbour. Photo: ODT
Peter Graham has won consent for a hole-in-one golf challenge on Otago Harbour. Photo: ODT
A golf hole-in-one challenge on the edge of Otago Harbour is "all go" for next summer, after an Environment Court appeal was resolved, the man behind the project says.

Dunedin businessman Peter Graham was granted resource consent in May last year to use a small reserve south of the Vauxhall Yacht Club as the base for the golf challenge, kayak, fun-boat and bicycle hire venture.

Golfers would aim for a floating pontoon positioned 95m into the harbour, and stood to win a $10,000 prize if they scored a hole-in-one.

In June, a new group, the Otago Harbour Preservation Society, lodged an appeal against the consent with the Environment Court and the parties have been working to resolve it since then.

On Friday, court staff released a copy of a consent memorandum signed on February 28, and a final order dated March 6, confirming the appeal had been resolved.

Parties to the agreement included Mr Graham, the harbour preservation group, and the Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council, which together issued the joint consent for the venture last year.

Mr Graham said the agreement meant the development was "signed, sealed and delivered" and would proceed in time to open next summer.

"It was very nervous knowing how much I had to invest to get essentially a bit paper saying this venture could go ahead ... or if was all going to all vanish if there was a negative outcome."

Despite that, he accepted the "minor" changes that had resulted and the appeals process itself, saying he had "no hard feelings" towards the other parties.

"It's good to know everyone is happy and we can carry on and start setting up the hole-in-one challenge."

It would provide Dunedin with a "unique" recreation activity, as well as catering for cyclists wanting to use the nearby shared path and those wanting to take to the water, he said.

In the court documents, the changes agreed by all parties included reducing the size of the floating pontoon from 12m x 8m to 8m x 8m and specifying the colours and signs to be used.

The requirement for golf patrons to be supervised was also spelled out, as was the need for staff to be trained in how to deal with difficult customers and to minimise noise disruption for neighbours.

The hours of operation would also be limited to 9pm or sunset, whichever was earlier, and the venture's activity manager would have to be contactable, so neighbours would be able to readily register complaints.

There were also additional requirements for ball collection, beyond what had previously been planned, including regular shoreline walks by staff to retrieve mis-hits.

The venture's activity manager would have to work with the Vauxhall Yacht Club to manage golfing activity during club regattas.

Otago Harbour Preservation Society member Johnny van Leeuwen, one of the main appellants, said the group had only just received the paperwork and needed "a few days" to digest the outcome.



So now it's OK to throw rubbish into the harbour? As long as we charge for the privilege?

Dumb decision by a council living in the past. Stanford University has published a paper in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin on the dangerous microplastics and toxins being released into the ocean as the golf balls degrade. And DCC thinks it's fine to fire them into our harbour - no way will they all be collected. So much for the natural science tourism image...

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter