COAST & COUNTRY, THURSDAY, April 4th, 2001
Remote lodge provides many challenges
Charlie’s version of a log cabin – luxury in the wilderness.
Coast & Country reporter Lesley Board describes her stay at Charlie’s Place on a recent trek through some of New Zealand’s most isolated country, with backdrop of rugged mountains everywhere along the Hollyford River.
BY LESLEY BOARD
|His was a test case – the first application under the Resource
Management Act to build and operate a B&B and homestay on freehold land within the magnificent 3 million acre Fiordland
“Buying the land was the easy bit – getting permission to develop was another matter, with opposition coming from all kinds of people. Southern Health for instance opposed me on the grounds of noise pollution during the building process! I am still trying to figure out who was around to be disturbed – it seemed a frivolous waste of taxpayers’ money. Nobody who has actually been to visit since Charlie’s Place was built has ever said I shouldn’t have done it.”
In fact most people are bowled over by the sheer guts and determination of the man and by the sensitive way he has built his hideaway. Nothing jars with nature, his hospitality is legendary
|and all he needs now is more feet beating a path to his door.
In the beginning, Charlie says it was the chance to make a profit which made him search out and buy 3 of the 5 freehold sections on the lake shore - part of the ill-fated Jamestown settlement of 1870. Two of them were owned by families who had held on to them for generations.
Why would they want to sell I asked. The answer – because they didn’t believe anyone would ever get permission to develop. But at the end of the day, after numerous controls were slapped on (including a scenic protection order) there was nothing to stop him under the District Plan. Charlie had won his first battle – at a cost.
Then came the expensive task of helicoptering in materials for the 149sqm kitset therma-panel home on which he did 70 percent of the work himself. By the time he had paid for 43 chopper loads of material from the end of the road to McKerrow Island then barged it up the lake on 44 gallon drums, he had run out of money.
“I still had to get the balustrades and handrails on site so tried floating them down the Hollyford River in mid-winter attached to my little yellow boat. The boat
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