Consent bid for 100-year-old jetty

Not legal? This 100-year-old jetty in Queenstown is one of hundreds of water structures in the...
Not legal? This 100-year-old jetty in Queenstown is one of hundreds of water structures in the region which might not be legally compliant. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Better late than never. A prominent Queenstown jetty built 100 years ago is finally about to become legal.

And there may be hundreds of other jetties and water structures in the region which have similar issues.

Earnslaw Lodge Ltd is applying for a retrospective consent to legalise an existing historic jetty on the shores of Queenstown Bay on Lake Wakatipu.

An Earnslaw Lodge Ltd spokesman said when the jetty was established by NZ Railways in about 1924, it did not require legal consent.

"NZ Railways were administered out of Wellington and had de facto powers which outweighed the local authorities," he said.

"As far as can be ascertained, no permits were required."

The issue came to light after the Queenstown Lakes District Council became aware that some privately owned moorings and jetties might not be legally compliant and might not hold up-to-date permits, resource consents, or building consents, he said.

"The owners urgently want to make structural and health and safety repairs to the jetty.

"We have requested to understand what the process is for QLDC-owned structures in the same legal position but have not received a reply from QLDC property department.

"Our understanding is that the consents problem could affect between 200 to 300 jetties, structures and moorings."

The jetty was established in 1924, long before the Building Act (the jetty is defined as a building) and work safety regulations were in force.

Correspondence with interested party Otago Fish & Game said this retrospective consent was "the first part of an encompassing plan to repair the present structure of the jetty and enhance the structure to meet the owner’s responsibilities defined in today’s standards and the expectations of the public".

A QLDC planner’s report also said the jetty was frequently used, but there were no tracks formalised within the recreation reserve to provide direct access to the jetty.

"There is an informal access to the jetty. This area is regularly used by visitors to the gardens as a place to sit and appreciate the foreshore area and views across the lake to Ben Lomond."

Planning documents also said the jetty was built by NZ railways specifically for the paddle steamer Mountaineer.

"The Mountaineer, which was a NZ Railways vessel, became redundant once the Earnslaw was established on the lake and is recorded as being sold for a houseboat early 1930."