70 days ago

Hanmer flyride attraction considered behind closed doors

Nicole Mathewson Reporter from Northern Outlook

By David Hill, Local Democracy Reporter

The fate of a proposed flyride in Hanmer Springs is being considered behind closed doors in the Canterbury tourist town this week.

An Environment Court hearing got under way on Monday afternoon (March 18) in the Hanmer Springs Hotel ballroom, but local residents are unable to attend.

Community leaders spoken to by Local Democracy Reporting on Monday said they were just hoping to get a final decision ‘‘one way or the other’’, after a drawn-out process.

The hearing was first held in February last year and was adjourned until November, when it was postponed due to illness.

It was transferred to Hanmer Springs due to a lack of capacity in Christchurch, with the closed door hearing getting under way this week before Judge Lauren Semple.

A consent was granted to the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa by a Hurunui District Council appointed commissioner nearly two years ago.

The resource consent application was to install and operate a gravity-based recreation activity at Conical Hill Reserve.

But it was appealed to the Environment Court by The Friends of Conical Hill Incorporated.

The hearing is expected to run throughout the week, hearing submissions from the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa, the council and the Friends of Conical Hill.

If successful, it would be the latest adrenaline venture for the Canterbury tourist town.

During the consent process, submitters opposed to the flyride said it would have a visual impact on the recreation character, biodiversity and horse trails in the area.

Concerns were also raised about parking, traffic congestion, noise, along with the risk of fire, and devaluation of properties.

Supporters believed the venture would bring value and benefits to the Hanmer Springs community and the wider district, and promote the village as a fun, healthy and interactive place to visit.

■ LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.

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