Oyster festival plans for expansion

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    An artist's impression of proposed plans by the Bluff Oyster & Food Festival committee for 100-116 Gore St, Bluff, where the Club Hotel is currently situated. Graphic: Supplied

    BLUFF’S Club Hotel is earmarked for demolition.

    Bluff Oyster & Food Festival chairman John Edminstin said the festival trust, which had owned the site since June 2014, planned to apply to the Invercargill City Council (ICC) for resource consent to demolish the heritage-listed property to extend the outdoor area of the festival venue.

    The festival had been sold out in the past two years and more space was needed to meet the demand, Mr Edminstin said.

    If the venue was larger, more people would be able to attend the festival, which would bring more visitors and more money into the region, he said.

    “We want to have more land so we can make it a bigger and better festival.

    Club Hotel, Bluff. Photo: Janette Gellatly

    “We would like to push ahead and have the site ready for next year.” The hotel is listed in the ICC district plan as a class four heritage property and a category two heritage property with Heritage New Zealand.

    Mr Edminstin said the committee would not consider retaining the building’s facade.

    “We want the lot down.” He estimated it would cost more than $1 million to bring the 103-year-old building up to current building standards, including rewiring and replumbing work.

    If the trust was unable to obtain resource consent to demolish the hotel, it did not have sufficient funds to do anything to the building, and there had been little to no interest in the property, he said.

    The trust’s plan was presented to the Bluff Community Board on Monday night.

    Bluff Community Board chairman Raymond Fife said the board supported the plan.

    “We acknowledge the Club Hotel has a lot of history behind it, but it is run-down and no one is prepared to buy it and spend the money to bring it up to its former glory,” he said.

    “Unless someone can come up with a better idea, which I doubt, there are not a lot of other options for the festival committee.”

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