Opponents saddened by waterfront building

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“A number of members will avert their eyes and avoid the area and be deeply saddened for a long time,” said Save Wanaka Lakefront spokesman Alan Cutler.

The group had been negotiating conditions of the consent for the controversial Wanaka Watersports Facility as recommended by the Environment Court, which had to be addressed by September 25.

An interim decision knocking back an appeal against the facility, by Save Wanaka Lakefront Reserves Inc, was released by Judge John Hassan in June, after a hearing was held in March.

After more than two months of negotiation, the court then released its final decision late last month.

Mr Cutler said the group was “gutted in many ways” the facility was set to go ahead, and described the process as a “unpleasant and emotional” that was expensive for everyone involved.

He said the debate around the structure had divided the town, and he felt many people were afraid of speaking out.

Mr Cutler is now contesting the Wanaka Community Board by-elections after other members in the group encouraged him.

Wanaka Watersports Facility Trust chairman Michael Sidey told the Otago Daily Times that the trust hoped to have a consent application lodged with the council by the end of October.

If there were no issues with the consent process, work could start early next year, with an aim of finishing construction by the later half of 2018.

About $1.5million would be spent on the facility when it was finished, including the costs of the consent and appeal process, Mr Sidey said.

No request for the recovery of costs was made by the trust.

Funding applications would be submitted, with the aim of having most of it confirmed before work started.