A planner has recommended consent be granted for a hole-in-one golf challenge on the edge of Otago Harbour, despite concerns from submitters.

Dunedin businessman Peter Graham has applied for consent to develop the business by the Vauxhall Yacht Club.

It would include a golf challenge, kayak, canoe and bicycle hire, and a coffee and food van.

Players will tee off from the shoreline reserve south of the Vauxhall Yacht Club, aiming for an 8m by 12m pontoon, and a $10,000 prize will be offered for anyone who manages the feat.


The venture would be similar to one which has run in Taupo since 1993, and a scuba diver would be hired to collect balls from the harbour seabed every week.

Graham's applications to both the Dunedin City Council and Otago Regional Council for consents were publicly notified late last year, resulting in 25 submissions, mostly opposed to the venture.

A joint consent hearing would be held on February 19, although the ORC was the lead agency.

Of submissions received, 15 opposed the venture while seven supported it and three were neutral.

Opponents included Karley Wilden-Palms, on behalf of the Otago University Rowing Club, who said the area was widely used by rowers and other water sports users for early morning training.

''It would put this pontoon directly in the path of one of our training areas - an area that is nicely sheltered from the normal summer northerly winds,'' she said.

Tracy Hudson, a resident in the area, worried noise from the activity would disrupt her young family, making bedtime ''impossible''.

It would also mean more vehicles on the road, and more people on the shared pathway alongside Portobello Rd, which would have to become cyclist-only to cope, she predicted.


''That would be so sad.

''This is a residential area with a number of young families who choose to live in this area for the peace and quiet and the beautiful views. This would devalue the area,'' she said.

Lala Frazer, for Save The Otago Peninsula (STOP), also opposed the plan, worried about the wellbeing of wildlife, including roosting shags in the area, and the marine environment.

''The shags have gradually had their roosts and nesting sites reduced throughout the Harbour area.

''While they do get disturbed regularly by users of the jetty, they can fly away from danger. But a flying golf ball hitting them could presumably kill or injure,'' she said.

However, supporters of the proposal included Richard Joseph, who argued the venture would ''inject vibrancy into an under utilised part of the harbour''.

''It will attract families, social groups, corporate teams, schools and the general public. It will likely become a popular tourist and recreational facility and trigger other ideas to better utilise our beautiful harbour,'' he said.

Peter Barton, the secretary of the Ravensbourne Boating Club, also backed the proposal, saying it would ''encourage an interest in our city's unique environment and history''.

Arrangements to be put in place to accommodate the nearby Vauxhall Yacht Club and regattas in the area appeared satisfactory, he said.

''We do not consider that our members would be endangered by the proposed hole-in-one venture while on the water.''

Despite the mixed views, Otago Regional Council senior consents officer Charles Horrell had recommended consent be granted with conditions.

His report noted a ''spotter'' would be employed to monitor the potential strike zone - covering an area including wayward shots - and stop proceedings if a water user entered the zone.

The ''temporary'' presence of golf balls in the harbour would have a ''negligible'' environmental impact, even if not all were collected, as they were non-toxic and unlikely to break down.

Graham had worked with the Vauxhall Yacht Club, as the main user of the area, to position the pontoon in an ''appropriate location'', the report said.

And, while some clubs, such as the Otago University Rowing Club, expressed concern at the proposed pontoon, other recreational clubs, including the Vauxhall Yacht Club, support the venture, the report said.