“That’s it”: the owner of the lodge is ready to sell his brand


The owner of a large unauthorized sign in Southland that has angered a neighbor says he is leaving the area with the ensuing fallout.

Three weeks ago, Ton Crooymans built a large sign marking the large seaside lodge he owns in Tūātapere, about an hour west of Invercargill.

Less than 24 hours later, he received an email from Southland District Council telling him he had to remove it by October 29.

The size of the panel would likely trigger a publicly notified consent process, the council said.

However, the sign had already caught the attention of community figures, including Mayor Gary Tong, who said he would raise the issue with council staff and see if he could strike a deal to keep him. in place until a decision can be made on consent. .

On Monday, Tong confirmed that he had failed in his attempts and that the sign must now come down.

“We have to play by the rules about it. I guess if you fold them for one, you have to fold them for everyone,” he said.

However, Crooymans said he has no plans to remove the panel and is now looking to sell.

The panel had rocked him after 15 years of dealing with the board, he said.

“I don’t intend to take it off at this point. And then we’ll move on, we don’t want to hang around here anymore. That’s enough.

“We’ll have to sell first. But that’s it. Let someone else try. We spent our savings on this project. [lodge], doing something really cool for this area. “

The sign in question reads “The Cliffs” and announces Crooymans’ 18 studios in Tūātapere that he has set up with his partner. Composed of two cattle stops and four perpendicular electricity poles, it is 10 times larger than what is allowed by the district plan.

Crooymans said being called out for it was a double standard, as a similar unauthorized structure – also made up of utility poles – had flown under the radar at his address for 14 years.

“That’s not how the Deep South should be. People first – you can put it on your sign when driving around the province, but is it?” Crooymans asked.

Crooymans is originally from the Netherlands and has lived in Tūātapere for 16 years. He believed the new signage was an imaginative way to promote his business while also nodding to the surrounding area.

Neighbor Baerbi Kratzeisen confirmed to Local Democracy Reporting that she alerted the board to the unwilling structure, but declined to comment further.

When asked to comment, Southland District Council environmental planning director Marcus Roy reiterated that it was likely the sign would need to be publicly notified in its current form.

“The owner of the sign had two and a half weeks to remove the sign, which meant a deadline of October 29, 2021,” he said.

“At this point, we have not confirmed whether the panel has been removed or not.”

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