Iwi oppose cafe at popular Blue Springs
Plans to build a restaurant and cafe beside a popular South Waikato tourist destination have been opposed by local iwi.
Cheryl Waite has applied for resource consent to build cafe/ restaurant next to the Te Waihou Blue Springs in Putaruru, plus an accommodation facility for up to 10 people.
But in a written submission on the proposal for consent, Raukawa group manager for environment, Grant Kettle, said they could not give their written approval to the application.
Kettle said they were not against commercial development in the area, but it would need to be ‘‘sustainable and not at the expense of Te Puna and Te Waihou’’.
Ruakawa believed current visitor numbers to the site already exceeded capacity and had degraded the cultural and environment values of the area.
The Blue Springs have proved increasing popular of late, with a record number of 5200 people visiting the springs in December, increasing to 8949 in January.
‘‘This increase has resulted in adverse effects on the surrounding environment including degradation of the river banks, loss of riparian and aquatic vegetation and littering.’’
Ruakawa was concerned that Waite’s proposed development would increase visitor numbers further and lead to further destruction and erosion.
Kettle said, for those reasons, they could not give their written approval to the application.
They asked for the application be publicity notified and looked forward to further discussion with Waite and the council on how ‘‘to best resolve the issues and concerns arising from the application’’.
Alan Moss, the council’s planning manager, said they’d be meeting with Waite and a Ruakawa representative this week to discuss Raukawa’s feedback, the council’s own request for further information on the consent and to clarify any changes made to the original consent by Waite.
‘‘Until that meeting Council can make no further progress on the consent application. We are pleased at the continued dialogue with the applicant and Raukawa.’’
Waite previously said she was frustrated by the delays being caused by the need for Ruakawa to have their say on the application.
Ruakawa is concerned about the environmental impact a cafe would have on the Blue Springs.