The Gore District Council’s planned $3.7 million cable stay bridge across the Mataura River must clear an appeal stage before construction can begin.
Commissioners Dean Chrystal, of Christchurch, Reginald Proffit, of Gisborne, and Bonnie Mager, of Invercargill, who conducted an independent hearing into whether the resource consent should be granted, approved the application on Thursday.
Gore resident Rodney Bell said he would appeal the decision of the panel to grant the “eyesore” a resource consent.
He was one of 25 submitters who opposed the application.
The bridge will be for cyclists and pedestrians to use, but will also support pipelines crossing the river as part of the Gore water treatment plant upgrade project.
“It’s money being spent that doesn’t need to be spent,” Mr Bell said.
“[There is] an alternative means of transporting the water across the river, that being pipes in a trench, which is considerably cheaper.”
The bridge would be visible from his property, he said.
“They have decided that this wonderful bridge will look good, and they’re wrong.”
The bridge would be 90m long and 39m tall at its highest point.
“I don’t think people can actually fathom just how tall this tower is going to be.”
Gore resident David Gray was also “very disappointed” with the decision.
Mr Gray, who is president of the Waimea Plains Landscape Preservation Society, said the group would discuss a possible appeal at its next meeting.
Gore resident Maurice Broome was among the 18 submitters who supported the bridge.
It would improve connectivity between east and west Gore, he said.
“It’s a big step for pedestrians and cyclists.”
However, he remained circumspect.
“While I’m pleased with the consent, it’s not finalised yet.”
Council chief executive Stephen Parry said the decision dealt “categorically” with the suggestion of a trench being dug in the river bed.
“It was a very invasive environmental step.”
Beauty was in the eye of the beholder, he said.
“I’ve had people approach me and say [they] really like it.
“A bridge of this size was always going to attract attention and possibly polarise people.”