Glenorchy set to become greener


A philanthropic American couple have filed for resource consent to develop New Zealand’s greenest campground – at Glenorchy.

Desktop publishing pioneer Paul Brainerd and his wife Debbi bought the run-down Glenorchy Store and Holiday Park, and five neighbouring parcels, a year ago.

They turned heads by announcing that profits from developing their three-hectare site would be ploughed into a community trust to benefit Glenorchy.

The couple – who own a holiday home in the nearby high-end Wyuna subdivision – have done similar community projects back home in the States.

Camp Glenorchy, as it’s known, will sleep up to 86 people in nine flexibly-configured cabin buildings in addition to its 20 tent and seven powered campervan sites.

Though the site’s zoned for visitor accommodation and the campground’s largely well within district plan requirements, Paul Brainerd says they’re happy for their application to be publicly notified.

The Brainerds have had their sceptics.

But they’ve consulted about 450 people in preparing their plans and believe they’ve satisfied concerns.

“Our philosophy has been to be open and honest with anybody and answer their questions clearly and accurately,” Paul says.

“We were advised by many people in Queenstown to do as little consultation as possible – we did not take their advice, however.”

The environmental aim is for the development to use half the energy and water of traditional buildings.

To reduce wastewater there’ll be composting toilets in the amenity building and a greywater treatment wetland.

In a South Island first, the couple will seek Net Zero Energy certification.

To meet this, the campground has to meet four out of 20 ‘petals’ in the Living Building Challenge programme, said to be the highest standard for environmental sustainability in the world.

Paul says: “We intend to go as far as we think is economically possible with the other 16.

“My guess is we’ll get seven to 10 of the 20.”

To help energy saving there’ll be a ‘solar garden’ comprising photovoltaic panels and wastewater treatment plant pods.

Within the complex there’ll also be hand-pulled carts, Dutch work bikes and electric golf carts to minimise vehicle

Meanwhile the main ‘commons’ building will include a reception lobby, communal dining and kitchen facilities and
meeting space for up to 50 people.

The Brainerds have a three-stage vision for ‘Glenorchy Marketplace and Camp Glenorchy’.

Work’s expected to take up to seven years.

The couple have also upgraded and recently reopened the town’s general store.

The campground, which is due to open early next year, is planned for a 12,000 square metre site on the other side of Coll Street from the general store and former holiday park, bordering the Oban St entrance to Glenorchy.

The other stages, including a cafe and community classroom and tourist cottages, will be on the original site.

The Brainerds’ eventual aim is for the community trust to own the whole development.