The dream of floating a houseboat on Lake Dunstan has become ‘‘a real nightmare’’ for Ian Horsham.
The Invercargill man has been in a battle with the Central Otago District Council (CODC) and Land Information New Zealand (Linz) since 2022 for permission to launch his houseboat in a small cove near Pisa Moorings and Lowburn offshore from the New Zealand Motorhome Caravan Association camping ground.
That was after he had already spent two years working through consents and application processes, he told The News.
He had now listed the houseboat for sale after a rehearing last month where Linz declined his application for a mooring licence and the need to move it off the property on which it was being stored.
Ownership of the lake bed lies with Linz, while CODC is responsible for the lake surface, thus requiring both authorities to grant permission.
In July 2021, the district council granted Mr Horsham resource consent. However, in March 2022, days prior to transporting the houseboat from Southland, he was slapped with a court injunction, preventing its launch.
The CODC disputed the houseboat’s status as a vessel, instead deeming it a structure.
At the same time, Linz said Mr Horsham had not been issued a mooring licence to install the four moorings he had placed on the lake bed.
Since then he has been fighting both Linz and CODC to get the permission he says was granted.
‘‘If I’d known this right from word go I’d never have gone ahead with it,’’ Mr Horsham said.
‘‘It really, really ripped my guts out, my heart out. All that hard work and from the word go they gave me consent to do it and I walk away with nothing now.’’
The houseboat had cost Mr Horsham, a former engineer, about $80,000 — plus the hours to build it — as well as $20,000 in consent and legal fees.
Now it is costing him to store it in a truck yard while he waited to sell it.
‘‘We looked in to the details [to have the houseboat on Lake Dunstan] and, yep, not a problem.
‘‘They [council] took my money and they walked away with it . . .
‘‘I want to walk away from it now. It hurts so much.
‘‘They’ve treated me like rubbish.’’
Mr Horsham said he was considering further legal action on principle.
Linz acting head of Crown property James Holborow said last month the Commissioner for Crown Lands declined Mr Horsham’s application for a mooring licence under section 75 of the Land Act.
Considering the land’s status, the fact there were no moorings for private vessels on the Crown land bed of Lake Dunstan, and other potential uses, the commissioner concluded allowing a houseboat to be moored at this location was ‘‘not in the public interest’’.