Nikki Preston

Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Pauanui camping ground proposal irks residents

Some Pauanui residents are upset by plans for a camping ground. File photo / Paul Estcourt
Some Pauanui residents are upset by plans for a camping ground. File photo / Paul Estcourt

Neighbours of a proposed camping ground in Pauanui are opposing the plans, saying it is too big and will have a negative effect on the environment.

Owners of the neighbouring kiwifruit block will next week argue against the council approving a resource consent for a 205-site camping ground on the north-western side of Hikuai Settlement Rd.

The proposal has attracted six submissions - all in opposition to the facility at the site - which will be heard by Thames-Coromandel District Council's judicial committee next Thursday.

The proposal is backed by developer Gordon Finlay, who bought the grazing section to create a camping ground with large sites, two ablution blocks, a combined kitchen and ablution facility, a manager's unit and camp shop, a caretaker's residence and a boat washdown area.

Mr Finlay said he was planning to build a camping ground to overcome a shortage in the area.

He declined to comment further until a decision on the resource consent was made.

The multiple stakeholders in the 10 kiwifruit blocks want to stop the proposal in its entirety. They are against the size, scale, location and layout of the camping ground. Planning and resource management consultant Graeme Lawrence, who is representing a number of the neighbours, argued in his written submission that the camping ground would have adverse effects on the surrounding coastal and gully area and the immediate neighbours.

Another neighbour said, in his written submission, that the plans did not fit in with the original vision for Pauanui to include recreational facilities for users and said it would, instead, put more pressure on the existing parks, tennis courts, playgrounds and golf courses.

There are also concerns about the increase of traffic to the shops, surf beach and boat ramps from the camping ground which will be 5km away on the outskirts of the town.

While landowner Bill Kornman told the Herald most of the landowners didn't oppose the proposed camping ground, they thought it could be designed better.

"At the moment, the proposal is just rows and rows of camp sites and we felt that could be done in a much better way."

He said an example would be having more greenery and spreading the sites out in small clusters.

The landowners were also worried about the facility being on the border of the kiwifruit plantation and feared the proposal could jeopardise their own plans of slowly changing their land into a residential development.

Meanwhile, an independent traffic impact assessment of the proposal has found that with the proposed widening of the road the impact of the new camping ground on the site would have a minimal impact on traffic in the area.

- NZ Herald

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