Arrowtown cabin owners squeezed in council clearout

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The squeeze has gone on 18 Arrowtown cabin owners – and warning bells are sounding for others in Frankton. 

Despite pleas from Arrowtown cabin owners, Queenstown Lakes District Council has approved a no-nonsense eviction plan from council contractor APL Property. 

With a deadline of September 30, owners must either: 

• remove cabins from Arrowtown Camping Ground within 90 days 

• or sell them to QLDC at agreed value, likely to be about $25,000-$30,000 

• or get a two-year reprieve by paying increased ground rent of $2500 annually – and let QLDC off having to buy the cabins. 

Cabin owners were given notice two years ago that permits to occupy council land would expire this year and wouldn’t be renewed. 

Reality is now sinking in, APL Property boss Joanne Conroy reports. 

Conroy told a QLDC committee recently: “A number of cabin owners have expressed concern that relocating from the site in this economic climate will result in serious disadvantage to them and have asked council to review its decision.” 

Conroy advises there will be no review and both the Arrowtown Rugby Club and Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust are eyeing up the cabin land. 

However, redevelopment is probably two years away so cabins whose owners don’t take up the reprieve could be rented for that time, she says. 

Owners evicted from other cabins will get first refusal on renting but pay market rates. 

Eviction is also on the cards for some of the 26 cabin owners at council-owned Frankton Camping Ground. 

Frankton differs from Arrowtown, however – QLDC has leased the campground to private operators until 2018 and those operators sub-lease to cabin owners. 

“A number of cabin owners have asked that council allow them to be granted new sub-licences until 2018,” Conroy told her council committee. 

The decision on granting new sub-licences ultimately rests with the campground operators, she advises, and “they’re keen to do so”. 

But not to everyone: “They’d like to retain the ability to refuse new sub-licences to cabin owners who’ve caused difficulties in the past – particularly those who don’t pay their rent in a timely manner,” Conway reports.