Cowboy park owner claims council's bullying him

Cowboy park owner claims council's bullying him

Mike Milne is the self-appointed sheriff of his own Wild West town - he's been running the tourist attraction Cowboy Paradise complete with saloon and shooting range for more than 30 years.

But a visit from Westland District Council building inspectors a fortnight ago has put an end to that.

"They came up here basically and said they were not going to renew our certificate of public use so therefore we were going to have to cease trading and dealing with the public," says Cowboy Paradise owner Mike Milne.

Mr Milne says the council notice came after negotiations over a cycleway easement on his property broke down.

In 2013, Mr Milne allowed six kilometres of the West Coast Wilderness cycle trail to run through his property - since then 6000 cyclists have passed through without issue.

"We've been successfully and happily accommodating guests anywhere from up to ten a night through to 30 or more a night on a regular basis ever since then without any troubles," says Mr Milne.

The council's chief executive Jim Ebenhoh says the notice issued to Mr Milne has nothing to do with issues over the easement and all to do with building compliance.

"In this case they relate to things like ventilation, weather proofing, accessibility for disabled persons - a number of items," he says.

Mr Ebehoh says Mr Milne will have his cowboy paradise back up and running if and when he fixes those issues.