Cromwell houseboat project off: consent withdrawn after $20,000 battle

by Peter Newport - Dec 23, 2023

A novel houseboat that was planned to be moored on Lake Dunstan near Cromwell is now up for sale after resource consent for the project was withdrawn.

Owner Ian Horsham says that he feels mentally and physically drained after a two year battle that centred on whether the house was a vessel or a structure. 

"I don't have the fight left in me" Mr Horsham told Crux today. 

He's been fighting not only the Central Otago District Council over resource consent but Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) who argued that the houseboat could not be moored on Lake Dunstan as it would be for private not public use. 

Mr Horsham says that he's now complained to central Government and his local MP about the way he's had to pay up to $20,000 in fees in a dispute that's dragged on for two years, with no chance now of getting any of that money back.

More than 140 plastic drums attached underneath the house were designed to keep it afloat.

The project’s relied on some Kiwi number-eight-wire problem solving and box-of-beers trading, he says.

Mr Horsham had salvaged an old Skyline garage and two milking sheds off Southland dairy farms for the build.

Although he was successfully granted the necessary land use consent by the council in July 2021 to have his moorings on the lake, permission was subsequently pulled.

Just days before Mr Horsham planned to float his houseboat, he was prevented by a council injunction.

It said Mr Horsham’s houseboat was a structure, not a vessel, which meant he did not have the correct paperwork to continue with his project.

Now Mr Horsham says it's all over. "It's ripped the heart out of me. The houseboat is high and dry and on the market."

 

 

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