Kakanui camp gets stay of abatement notice

The Kakanui camping ground will be able to operate fully in the Christmas holidays because an Environment Court judge says it would be unfair to campers and a "breach of the Christmas and yuletide spirit" to disrupt their plans.

Camp owner Allan Jones had been served an abatement notice by the Waitaki District Council ordering him to cease operating visitor accommodation at the camping ground on the south side of the river.

Mr Jones applied on December 16 for a stay of the notice, which, while campers could have occupied the site, would have prevented his charging them.

Judge Jon Jackson decided on December 17 to grant the stay, on condition Mr Jones lodged a resource consent application with the council by January 31 to use the land as a motor camp.

The consent application was filed on December 15.

The court also directed that Mr Jones' appeal against the notice be set down for a prehearing conference as soon as possible after January 31.

In a deposition seeking the stay, Mr Jones said he had had a dispute with the council over his contribution to upgrading access roads, which had delayed the filing of the application.

He claimed existing-use rights for the camp, and the council told him he would not breach the notice if people camped, so long as they did not pay.

Mr Jones told the court running a camping ground involved noise control and removal of rubbish.

In his view, a managed camping ground had fewer adverse effects on the environment than campers' "doing their own thing", which was what would happen under the abatement notice.

Judge Jackson agreed with Mr Jones that if he was not available to manage those things, adverse effects were likely.

"Whilst it is most unsatisfactory Mr Jones is continuing to operate his business without resource consent, I am aware that at this time of the year there are a lot of people who will have made holiday plans at the camping ground," he said.

"I think it would be unfair to them and a breach of the Christmas and yuletide spirit to disrupt those plans at this late stage."

In his application for the stay, Mr Jones said compliance would be unreasonable because:He claimed existing-use rights.

Applications for resource consent had been made, but there had been difficulties over access to the site.

A further application would be made with access off Waianakarua Rd.

There would be a severe effect on business, as the Christmas period was heavily booked.

Council planning manager David Campbell confirmed to the Otago Daily Times yesterday Mr Jones had filed a consent application.

The council would monitor the camp "on a reduced basis" until the outcome of the appeal against the abatement notice was known.

david.bruce@odt.co.nz

 

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