By Mick Jensen
An impressive new million dollar accommodation lodge in Tinwald Domain will be officially unveiled to the public tomorrow (March 22).
The 513m2 lodge has been built by Tinwald Reserve Board to provide more visitor accommodation options in Ashburton.
A $1million loan from Ashburton council has been used to fund the lodge and will be paid off over time from the increased camping ground revenue.
The building looms large at the back of the large scenic domain and provides a quiet spot for guests.
It features eight studio units, bunk rooms and communal living and kitchen areas.
The lodge offers 40 beds to a wide range of guests including backpackers, school and sports groups and families.
Tinwald Reserve Board chairman Alister Wing said the official opening would be a chance for the public to see the finished article and a “very impressive and versatile building”.
The building of the lodge was part of the domain board’s major project of relocating the campground.
Moving the campground from the central part of the domain to a less obtrusive area of the reserve opened up more space to the public.
Mr Wing said the lodge had come in on budget but had taken longer than expected.
“We had a quantity surveyor look at costings at the beginning of the project and he estimated it would cost around $1.6 million to build, excluding contingencies and project management fees.
“We’ve built it for around $1million, which is a great testament to the buying and negotiation skills of joint project managers John Howe and Gary Thorpe.”
Mr Wing said the pair had driven the project and the end result was a top notch building that would be an asset for the district for years to come.
John Howe said the build had involved new and complex fire regulations, which in turn had led to some delays and changes.
“It took around six months longer to build than we anticipated.
“There is a builder’s saying that goes along the lines that ‘you can achieve two out of three from quality, price and speed, but not all three’.
“We achieved quality for a very good price, but it took a bit longer.”
The lodge has enjoyed a “soft” opening over the last few months, but will be marketed more widely in the future by new managers at the Ashburton Holiday Park.
The official lodge opening starts at 4pm, with a ribbon cutting and speeches to follow at 5.15pm.