Capel resident builds eco-friendly container chalets with disability access

Headshot of Ailish Delaney
Ailish DelaneySouth Western Times
Greg Norton
Camera IconGreg Norton Credit: Ailish Delaney / South Western Times

A Capel resident is constructing wheelchair-accessible, eco-friendly holiday accommodation out of shipping containers.

Greg Norton has transformed shipping containers into five solar-powered holiday chalets accessible for people with disability.

Mr Norton said it was important the chalets used solar power to be energy efficient and minimise the environmental impact.

The riverside location in Stirling Estate has been in Mr Norton’s family for about 80 years and is anticipated to be open to the public in January.

I’d always planned to build something special here.

It was on a visit to Christchurch that the idea grew in Mr Norton’s head, after he saw how the community was rebuilding from the aftermath of an earthquake.

“There was a block of businesses operating out of sea containers because they needed to keep viable,” he said.

“Seeing how they had done that showed me how you could use the containers in a different way.”

Mr Norton aimed to find a balance between the luxury getaway people look for in a holiday destination and maintaining the raw and industrial state of the containers.

The chalets balance between luxury and raw, industrial design.
Camera IconThe chalets balance between luxury and raw, industrial design.

The chalets all have back and front ramp access, wheel-in showers and lifts in the two double-storey chalets.

“Everything is accessible in each building, so someone who is in a chair can easily stay in one,” Mr Norton said.

Mr Norton hopes the chalets will provide a space for families to enjoy.

Other amenities such as a mountain bike track and playground are in the works.

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