Alf is pleased to bring you this follow-up to his post yesterday about the march of progress into Cathedral Cove.
Despite angering some locals, young entrepreneur Shanan Laird says he has had good feedback from tourists visiting his gazebo at Cathedral Cove.
He’s come under fire from angry locals for buggering up the scenery, but he tells us tourists are relieved to see him at the end of a long, hot walk, and that he is leaving the white-sand beach cleaner than he finds it each day.
Shanan Laird, 31, said he had had nothing but positive feedback from visitors – and only two negative comments from locals – since he began selling drinks and sandwiches at the untouched spot, 30 minutes’ walk from the road.
The stall has reportedly sparked an angry email campaign to Conservation Minister Tim Groser and Prime Minister John Key from locals, who say they were not consulted and who fear that DoC has opened the floodgates to hawkers by licensing the stall.
But Alf has been given good reason to question the credibility of the complainants.
Take a look at what he is selling.
No ice-cream, it should be noted.
Indeed, the Herald says –
Reports that he was selling icecreams, and that he did not have permission from the local council, were wrong, he said.
This gives Alf cause strong cause to believe the grumblers got things wrong when they complained about an ice-cream stall (although maybe the Herald misreported them).
Mind you, Alf suspects some of the buggers wouldn’t know the difference between an ice-cream and a sandwich.
So it’s good that the Herald is giving us a better grasp of what’s happening at Cathedral Cove in their story today.
The former ski-patroller carries a 2m x 2m table by boat to the cove each day and offers basic first aid, sunblock, snorkels, drinks and sandwiches to beachgoers.
As part of his contract with the Department of Conservation, he must clean the beach of all rubbish before he leaves each day.
This Laird bloke seems a decent and enterprising fellow who should be considered for a business award.
He told the Herald he got the idea last summer after seeing people arrive at the beach, hot and bothered, with no food or water and having to turn back.
“All the tourists are just so happy that someone is there with water because they didn’t realise the walk was so difficult,” he said. “Lots of people just forget [to bring drinks]. It’s a beautiful place so I may as well enhance it by offering cold drinks so people can spend longer there.”
Mr Laird’s brother, Ryan, a restaurant owner at nearby Cooks Beach, said visitors could not believe there was nowhere to buy drinks at the cove before this summer. The stall was tucked into the bush so it would not interfere with the vista.
“The place is already highly commercialised with the snorkelling tours and boat trips and everything … but there is no support on the beach to remove anything [rubbish] that gets left there,” he said.
The brothers have heard how some locals are railing against the business, but he reckons it’s better to have something low-key at the beach than to end up with something more intrusive.
“We have heard people saying it is a pristine environment and there should be nothing there,” he said. “[But] it is getting busier and busier.”
The Department of Conservation will decide whether to renew Shanan Laird’s trial licence next summer, after canvassing locals and visitors.
The only legitimate objection Alf can see is that the bloke seems to have a crop of curly ginger hair.