Consent big boost for oyster festival

Consent has been issued for the demolition of the Club Hotel in Bluff. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Consent has been issued for the demolition of the Club Hotel in Bluff. PHOTO: ODT FILES
The Bluff Oyster Festival has received a massive boost with consent granted to knock over a dangerous building which had caused the canning of this year’s event.

The Bluff Oyster and Food Festival Charitable Trust had applied for resource consent to demolish the Club Hotel, which was subject to a hearing last month in front of commissioner Paula Costello.

The dangerous state of the hotel had led to the cancellation of the festival this year.

The trust had wanted to knock it down but had already had that declined once before.

The application was opposed by the Invercargill City Council because the destruction of the hotel and the loss of heritage was said to be significant and the mitigation proposed by the trust was not enough.

Ms Costello though has granted the demolition of the hotel with conditions.

In her decision released on Friday she accepted evidence that the proposal to demolish would increase the ability for any use, including the Bluff Oyster and Food Festival to be undertaken on the site, and would enable future activity that aligned with business-2 zoning.

In her decision, she said the proposal — including the establishment of the landscape enhancement area which represented an appropriate use of the site — enabled people and communities to provide for their social, economic and cultural wellbeing and for their health and safety.

"It is this purpose of enabling communities to provide for their wellbeing and health and safety which became evident from the hearing is central to the determination of this application."

This evidence was unchallenged in terms of the support for demolition of the building, with no objection from Heritage New Zealand, and the submissions from Bluff residents made it clear they supported the outcome.

Conditions imposed included significant historical or archaeological features and historic building materials be carefully removed and securely stored in a manner that would not damage them.

An oral history would have to be done of the hotel.

Appeals must be made before January 12.

Time is of the essence to knock the building down, as next year’s festival is set for May.