Wanaka prepares for population boom

GRANT BRYANT
Last updated 11:33 04/09/2013

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Wanaka MirrorDevelopers are gearing up for a future population boom in Wanaka, with moves afoot to rezone swathes of rural land for industrial, residential and visitor accommodation use. 

Lady Marie Skeggs, matriarch of the Skeggs family, who own the $100 million Skeggs Group, has requested that the Queenstown Lakes District Council's strategy committee allow 7.3 hectares of rural land next door to Puzzling World be rezoned to allow visitor accommodation.

The site contains two dwellings and a nine-hole private golf course.

The Queenstown-based Skeggs Group is a key player in the Queenstown, Milford Sound and Te Anau tourism industry through Southern Discoveries, which it bought in 2008.

The group owns a 50 per cent share in KJet, and owns Queenstown Fishing Guides and Charters, and Bannockburn's Akaruants winery.

Allan Dippie's company Orchard Road Holdings has made a request to rezone 19.3 ha of rural land off Ballantyne Rd, used for grazing, into a multi-use zone.

Under the plan 13.4 ha will be rezoned low density residential, 5.9 ha to industrial use and 3.3 ha will be set aside for open space.

Meanwhile, moves are afoot to rezone 219 ha of rural general and rural residential land to a special zone for medium and low density residential housing as well as large residential lots and and a commercial neighbourhood.

In early August the council's strategy committee accepted the North Lake Wanaka Zone for notification, and public submissions closed last Friday.

At last week's meeting the strategy committee voted to lodge a submission covering problems in the rezoning that it deemed still needed work.

Well-known Wanaka real estate figure Noel Williams said the proposed North Lake plan chance would provide for enormous future growth on land that was well suited to absorb a large number of houses that would not be visible from any highways coming into town.

However, the sheer scale of the development ran the risk of fragmenting the so-far cohesive and unified growth of Wanaka.

A wide scope of visitor accommodation has also advanced to the resource consent application stage, with a 40-bed backpackers' hostel planned in the old Wanaka Medical Centre in Russell St.

Another company owned by Allan Dippie, Willowridge Developments, has applied for consent to build a 20-unit motel on the corner of West Meadows Drive and Cardrona Valley Rd.

If consented the motel would be built opposite the entrance to the Base Camp building, which houses Ruby's Cinema, and Wanaka's Lone Star bar and restaurant.

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Planning for growth: QLDC documents released in March last year said catering for future growth in Wanaka was key.

''The forecasts for growth demonstrate that there will be a need for more housing land in Wanaka... it would be unwise to let the recent short-term slowdown in economic activity affect sensible long-term planning for growth.''

- The Mirror

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