Stoush brewing over Wānaka barn

A proposed new shed on Allan Dippie’s lakefront property at Waterfall Creek, Lake Wānaka, is...
A proposed new shed on Allan Dippie’s lakefront property at Waterfall Creek, Lake Wānaka, is indicated in yellow, next to an existing, consented woolshed that was transferred to the site from Luggate in 2017. The gravel track is the Millennium Track, a public trail from Waterfall Creek to Glendhu Bay. PHOTO: MARJORIE COOK
Wānaka developer Allan Dippie and Upper Clutha Environmental Society (UCES) spokesman Julian Haworth are about to go head-to-head for a second time over a farm building - this time, a large hay barn proposed on Mr Dippie’s 35ha lakeside property, 4km to the west of Wānaka.

Their first stoush was between 2016-18, when Mr Dippie got permission to relocate a woolshed from Luggate to his property at 350 Mount Aspiring Rd.

Mr Dippie’s company, Beech Cottage Trustees Ltd, has now applied notified resource consent to erect another, bigger, rural building next to the woolshed; a 382sqm barn, to be built from recycled materials, including weathered corrugated iron.

However, the society is opposed to the barn because, it says, it is "very large", and fails the "reasonably difficult to see test" from many public places and exceeds capacity for development in the outstanding natural landscape.

Mr Haworth said in a UCES submission this month to the Queenstown Lakes District Council that the society was also concerned about "considerable associated earthworks" (1240cum over 2200sqm) and the cumulative effect of being built next to the woolshed and a smaller shepherd’s cottage.

The woolshed was consented in 2016, moved to Mr Dippie’s property in 2017 and then became the subject of UCES accusations it was being used for unconsented purposes, such as residential accommodation and weddings.

The council eventually required Beech Cottage Trustees Ltd, in 2018, to get consent for a deck built in front of the woolshed, which Mr Dippie did.

In an interview with the Otago Daily Times in 2018, Mr Dippie denied the woolshed would be used for residential purposes and warned Mr Haworth should mind his own business and be sure of his facts.

Mr Haworth said in the UCES submission this month the 2016 woolshed consent was granted for rural activities, such as shearing and storing wool, feed and horse tack.

Using it as a wedding venue was a commercial activity and raised two questions: would the woolshed "ever be used for rural purposes" and "whether another large farm building is needed on the site", he said.

Under district plan rules, the land was of a highly sensitive nature and of national importance. The effects on rural amenity and cumulative effects were likely to be significant and adverse, he said.

Beech Cottage Trustees Ltd said, in its application, the hay barn was in keeping with other rural developments in the wider area and did not exceed a threshold for the site to absorb further change.

Earth mounding and screen planting would reduce the barn’s bulk and it would look like a minor component in the landscape, the applicant said.

"The effects of the proposal on domestication on the landscape will be less than minor to negligible, with the planting and retention of expansive views maintaining the natural values of the landscape", the applicant said.

The working rural character and openness of the landscape would be retained.

Adverse effects would be "moderate in the immediate to short term and moderate-low beyond", the applicant said.

Public submissions close on May 30. A public hearing will be scheduled.