Resource consent approved
You might have seen the good news already, but the Resource consent for the Mahu Whenua Turks has been approved! 6 Turks in total, 5 on the Mahu Whenua Traverse and the existing one in the Crown Basin. A huge thank you to Holly Gardiner of Boffa Miskell and Steve Skelton of Patch Landscape.
I approached the Resource Consent process with complete naivety thinking all it would take for such a good idea to succeed would be half a dozen pages of description and maps. Little did I understand about “Outstanding Natural Landscapes”, “District Plans” and all the other twists and turns of the planning process. If it wasn’t for Steve and Holly’s help, I would be in some state of depression wondering why a good idea that will benefit so many is so hard to achieve.
The resource consent comes with a few conditions that include:
…installation of buildings shall be overseen by a person with formal experience in identifying cushion plants…Turks should avoid being sited on cushion plants. Cushion plants get quite a mention and we are not allowed to build on top of any.
…colour of all turks shall be ‘Beige’ as taken from the colour chart below with the exception of the turk at the Vanguard Peak site (Site #5) which shall be ‘Dark Grey’… toilet buildings shall be principally finished in matte painted metal and shall be in the colour of ‘Desert Sand’ with a Light Reflectance Value of 49%. The exception to this is the toilet building at the Vanguard Peak site (Site #5) which shall be TidalDrift Matte… We worked out the colouring of the Turks and toilets. This introduces the interesting problem that the structures will be difficult to see, especially on dim foggy days where their curved organic shapes will blend into the background. It is an interesting comparison to most DOC huts above the bush line which are bright orange! The RMA has no provision for safety and the importance of finding the shelter.
… final building locations shall be selected, wherever practicable, to utilise topographical depressions to reduce visibility of the structures….the building locations may be varied by a maximum of 10m… The sites are accurately defined so not much room for debate.
…then vegetation under the proposed footprint of the buildings shall be carefully excavated and reinstated on the remaining exposed areas … Basically be good gardeners and look after native vegetation.
…Signs shall be installed within each hut advising that users must not light any fires and that cooking shall only be undertaken inside the Turk. In addition, users must ensure that all waste (aside from human waste) shall be removed off-site and disposed of appropriately. These requirements shall also form part of the club members agreement or terms of membership and shall be communicated to members as part of the sign-up process… be good people and don’t leave a mess. The use of long-drop toilets is permitted by the Otago Regional Council for low use sites.
…All external fittings shall be well-attached and shall be non-toxic. The consent holder shall ensure that external fittings cannot be easily removed by birds, particularly Kea… Before I came up with the idea of a Turk I was thinking of yurts like used for skiing in the US and Canada but I realised they were not compatible with Kea. I would happily chew on the materials used to make a Turk (but I don’t think I would enjoy it) so the Kea will be fine.
As you can see the conditions are all quite reasonable and part of good backcountry management/behavior. There are a few additional conditions but none that will present significant difficulty.
Building consent exemption for the Turks has also been approved. This leaves one outstanding issue of a recreation permit from LINZ. I don’t see this as problematic and plan to leave application until after the formation of the club since our not for profit status (or statement at least) is important.