Final hurdle for multi-million dollar equine centre

Southern Parallel Equine Centre has a consent hearing on Monday for stage one of its proposed Lake Hood development. SUPPLIED
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The proposed development of a $200m equine stud and equestrian centre next to Lake Hood in Ashburton reaches the final hurdle on Monday.

Southern Parallel Equine Centre Limited face an independent commissioner to gain consent from the Ashburton District Council, having already received consent approval from Environment Canterbury.

Two adjacent property owners opposed the project during the council’s limited notification period. Only people identified as being adversely affected could make a submission.

A public hearing takes place on Monday at 10am in the council chamber.

An independent planning hearing report prepared for the council recommends the consent be approved.

The report states the proposed activity is defined as intensive livestock management (intensive farming) under the District Plan, but it is a non-complying activity as the site is within 1500m of the Residential C zone at Lake Hood.

As the project will “maintain the amenity values and rural character of the receiving environment” it is not considered to be contrary to the policy framework.

The report found any adverse effects on the environment would be no more than minor, as long as some recommended conditions were imposed.

Following the closure of the hearing, the independent commissioner will have 20 working days to decide whether to approve the consent application.

Southern Parallel received approval from ECan for all five resource consent applications, including one to discharge treated human and animal effluent to land, at the end of March.

Project director Catherine Stuart said she was pleased to receive the notification from ECan, which was a “step closer to establishing our exciting project”.

Stuart declined to comment on the active consent process with the council ahead of the hearing on Monday.

If the project gets approved by the council, it will have the green light to develop the 65ha of land next to Lake Hood.

Construction would start later this year, with the centre opening before the end of 2025.

According to the consent documents, the equine centre would feature an indoor selling arena, veterinary clinic, stables with 650 stalls and training arenas as well as fields for show jumping, dressage, eventing, polo training, and grazing pastures.

It was estimated the project would create 850 jobs during construction, and once fully operational would employ 160 people.
Stage two would be an SPC Life Skills and Education Centre, the foundation of the project, built on a separate site.

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