A guided walk company wants to build a private lunch shelter on the banks of Lake Howden on the Routeburn Track Great Walk.
Ultimate Hikes has applied for the concession which, if granted, will allow the company to construct a 74㎡ building with seating for 40 walkers plus guides. The structure would help alleviate overcrowding at the busy DOC-operated Lake Howden Hut.
According to their concession report, it would have a sink and gas burners to provide hot drinks, and a large surrounding deck. There would be no toilet; walkers would use the nearby DOC hut’s facilities.
Federated Mountain Clubs president Peter Wilson said that if the company is permitted to build a shelter at all, it should be understated, and not right next to the lake.
“The idea of exclusive use on conservation estate is pretty bad – this is public land. And the initial site they proposed is front and center on the lake with a nice big sunny deck and a lodge, whereas the public [DOC] hut is tucked down at the back,” Wilson said.
The company would like to build the shelter just off the main track at the north end of Lake Howden in a natural clearing.
“There are plenty of places to put a lunch shelter at Lake Howden, tucked away into the bush. If it’s sunny they can go sit on the lake edge like everyone else,” Wilson said.
DOC is accepting public submissions on the proposal until June 14. To weigh in, contact the department via mail: Director-General, Department of Conservation, Dunedin Service Centre, Box 5244, Dunedin 9058; or contact Richard Clarke on 03 474 6956 or email@example.com.