Cromwell houseboat dream dead as owner gives up council battle

by Kim Bowden - Jul 03, 2024

A two-bedroom floatable home once destined for Lake Dunstan is still on the market as its owner gives up on his dream of an outside-the-box crib.

Invercargill man Ian Horsham says he is left with no choice but to sell the houseboat after accruing tens of thousands of dollars of consenting and legal costs over several years.

He says he has taken out an additional mortgage on his home to cover his bills from fighting local authorities in a battle for the right to float his creation at a sheltered spot on the lake near Cromwell.

Ian Horsham's moorings ready and waiting but never used on Lake Dunstan, near Cromwell.

In mid-2021, Mr Horsham received resource consent from the Central Otago District Councillor for the moorings he planned to attach his floating house to.

But early the next year, a week out from launch day, and with a transporter at the ready to bring his creation to Cromwell, Mr Horsham was told the resource consent was not enough to green light his plans.

The council argued that while they had approved a mooring for a vessel, it had become clear to them from information received from a member of the public that Mr Horsham planned to float a house.

Land Information New Zealand also threw up another regulatory hurdle - while the council had approved resource consent for the moorings, Mr Horsham also required a license for them.

"I never had the opportunity to even float it," Mr Horsham says.

"It's sitting in storage in a yard with transportable houses in Invercargill."

Mr Horsham had supplied an architectural plan with the initial resource consent application and he maintains it was clear to the council from day dot what he was applying to do.

"They never should have given me the resource consent to begin with."

He says he paid a lawyer to argue his case, but it all costs money he doesn't have.

"It's nearly put by in a grave. It's hammered me."

All up, he estimates he has paid approximately $20,000 to the council and the lawyer.

"I went to the MP, I went to everyone, but there is nothing I can do about it really."

Now, Mr Horsham is advertising the house for sale on Facebook Marketplace, with an asking price of $129,000.

A wrap-around deck and carpeted interior (Image: Supplied).

He has had some interest, but no deal has been struck yet.

He hopes it will appeal to someone with access to a private pond or paddock where it can be parked up.

"It will be a good wee holiday home for somebody....or a novel Airbnb.

"Even I'd go and stay in it if someone bought it."

Each of the two bedrooms has a ranch slider of them, and there is another ranch slider off the lounge.

The house also has carpet throughout, a fireplace, a shower and flushing toilet with wastewater storage, a solar set-up for electricity generation, a wrap-around deck, and a new 140 horsepower Yamaha motor.

It is built on more than 100 plastic drums, designed to keep it afloat.

Main image (Supplied): Ian Horsham's houseboat may soon be on the move again, if a buyer can be found for it.

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