By Mick Jensen
There’s been a soft opening of the impressive new accommodation block in Tinwald Domain and some of its first guests have given the venue the big thumbs up.
The lodge is located in the newer part of the holiday park and 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 513m2 building looms large in a scenic, quiet spot at the back of domain and offers ensuite rooms, bunk rooms and communal living and kitchen areas.
Multi purpose, the lodge can accommodate a range of visitors, including backpackers, school and sports groups and families.
Among the first users last week were 28 young swimmers from Christchurch’s JASI Swim Club, who were accompanied by four adults.
Swim club administrator Jill Perriam said the group had taken over the entire lodge and had really enjoyed their stay there.
Everything was new and comfortable and the group was in a self-contained, quiet and relaxed setting.
“Usually, we head to Gore for the annual swim school, but we were able to book the pool at EA Networks Centre this year.
“It was the centres’s swim coach, Shane Jones, who mentioned the lodge was opening and that it could be an option for us,” Mrs Perriam said.
She said lodge prices were comparable with other venues, but the facilities were top notch and brand new.
Swimmers biked to EA Networks Centre for morning and afternoon swim sessions and in between “chilled” back out at the lodge.
The swim club was considering a return to the Tinwald domain lodge next year, she said.
Tinwald Reserve Board member Leen Braam said there would be an official opening of the lodge in the coming weeks.
Everyone involved with the project was “very proud of what had been achieved”.
“We did our homework and we believe the lodge will help fill a gap in the district’s accommodation market.”