Nine months of negotiations over a lease renewal for Cromwell Mini-golf has yet to see a satisfactory conclusion for parties concerned.
Shona and Danny Rae’s 20-year lease for the business, on publicly-owned land, expired last year, and they have been unable to negotiate a viable term.
The landlord, Central Otago District Council, says it cannot offer a longer lease than the four-year term it has offered.
Shona says, “The offer from the Cromwell Community Board in August 2020 was for two years with a right of renewal for a further two years, and a right of either party to cancel within six months’ notice.
This is a very short-sighted view for a business that has been successful for the last 20 years and is well used by locals and visitors alike.”
She adds that last year she and Danny had a meeting with the Property Manager and the Parks and Gardens Manager, and were told that the area had been set aside for tourism – her reply was “Is mini-golf not part of tourism?”
They believe that the prices charged are more affordable for families than many of the region’s activities, and the outdoor, family-friendly nature fits in well with others in the area.
She says, “We draw customers off the highway and this benefits other businesses in the town.
Shona has kept records of visitor numbers and home locations, which show that numbers have increased in spite of Covid restrictions, and the current road works disruption.
She says that there were almost 3,000 people through over the summer holidays, till Waitangi Weekend.
It is a popular place for locals to take their grandchildren over the school holidays.
A ten-year minimum lease is sought, to ensure the ongoing future of the business, and to make it worthwhile for them to maintain the asset.
They have kept the environment in attractive, tidy condition, with major re-carpeting done four years ago.
There are no plans to develop the area in the Long-term (20-year) plan, nor was there any mention of this development in the community consultation on the Master Plan.
It has been identified as an area for development beyond that time, in a site marked as a World of Difference park.