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The Central Otago District Council has granted a potential house builder exemption from fully fencing his cherry orchard's irrigation dam which was likened to a swimming pool.
Ken Forrest had sought exemption from fencing the dam on his Earnscleugh orchard, saying it was "impractical".
However, he proposed to build a dwelling "for the purposes of accommodating persons associated with the cherry orchard" next to the dam and with a deck that would protrude over the dam.
It was the house's proximity to the dam which led the council to consider it a swimming pool.
Council planning and environment manager Louise van der Voort told councillors on Wednesday that under the Fencing of Swimming Pools Act 1987, any excavation capable of being used for swimming, wading, paddling or bathing was defined as a swimming pool and would need to be fenced.
A section of the Act provides exemptions for excavations that are not used in association with a dwelling and irrigation dams are usually exempt.
She told councillors there were limited building opportunities on the property without removing trees and to fence the entire dam, with a perimeter more than 350m, would be "unrealistic and not practical".
She sought advice from the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, previously the Department of Building and Housing, and said while its response "was not definitive", she considered "the immediate proximity of the dwelling to the irrigation dam creates an association, and therefore the dam is not exempt from the requirements in the Act".
She had discussed that with Mr Forrest and he had subsequently applied to fence the deck rather than the entire dam.
However, plans provided with his building consent application show a glass fence of 1m - 200mm short of the required height under the Act.
There was also an external door on the western side of the house which, if a child was to use it, would allow them access to the dam.
Councillors granted Mr Forrest the exemption subject to the deck fence being raised to 1.2m and the yard between the western side of the house and the neighbouring property being fenced.