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Green Light For Multi-million Dollar Equestrian Centre At Lake Hood

A proposed $200m equine stud and equestrian training centre at Lake Hood near Ashburton has the go-ahead.

Commissioner Graham Taylor granted Southern Parallel Equine Centre Limited (SPEC) land use consent, subject to conditions, on Thursday.

It had already received resource consent approval from Environment Canterbury in March.

Project director Catherine Stuart could not be reached yesterday, but on social media said her team’s long-term focus, strength of purpose, commitment and enduring patience have been rewarded.

“Other than a few conditions placed on SPEC, we have approval to move forward with our ground-breaking plans to bring growth, opportunity, and revenues to the Ashburton region. 

“The SPEC team looks forward to supporting and further developing the equestrian sector in the region and wider realms. 

“The team looks forward to the work ahead to establish SPEC, ensuring future successes towards confirming Ashburton as an equestrian sports horse destination.”

After “‘jumping’ the hurdles” to get resource consent, the next step is getting building consent.

The plan is to develop the 65ha of land next to Lake Hood and SPEC wants to start construction later this year for an expected opening before the end of 2025.

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

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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.

The consent came with 30 conditions, including that the conditions can be reviewed annually by the Ashburton District Council.

Taylor was satisfied with the proposed 25 calendar day limit for events, with events classified as having over 50 visitors and each event requires a traffic management plan.

All horse manure needs to be cleaned out from the stable areas and disposed of off-site daily and cannot be stored outside the stables.

A proposed condition limiting residential activity on site was requested by submitters but as no consent was sought for any other residential use, Taylor was unable to place further conditions on residential use that has not been applied for.

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