Iwi op­pose cafe at pop­u­lar Blue Springs

South Waikato News - - Your Paper, Your Place - NI­COLA BREN­NAN-TU­PARA

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.

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