Wanaka residents round on council

JOHN EDENS
Last updated 05:00 25/07/2014

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Wanaka residents have rounded on the Queenstown Lakes District Council over an approved plan to rezone a vast swathe of land for up to 1400 homes.

Commissioners recommended rezoning rural and rural residential land to residential for the Northlake subdivision, a 219-hectare tract to the north of Aubrey Rd near Outlet Rd and, yesterday, a majority of Queenstown Lakes District councillors approved the plan.

During a public forum residents against the plan urged the council to reject the recommendation.

Bruce Paulson said it was disturbing how many submissions by people with planning expertise were against the plan - on land owned by Chris and Michaela Meehan.

"I was amazed how they could come up with such different opinions. The commissioners have accepted the views of those in favour of developers and rejected many astute opinions to the contrary."

Paulson's wife Jan said she and her husband previously lived in Los Angeles and subdivisions such as Northlake were the norm in an urban sprawl.

"[They are] devoid of natural character and features, each development eventually blending one into the next. The density upsets us most, 1400 homes.

"Almost 3000 people, half the current population of Wanaka, will live over our boundary fence."

Noleen Pullar said the views enjoyed by hikers and tourists could be lost.

"How can we let it be spoiled forever by allowing 1400 houses to be built, a sea of grey corrugated roofs?"

Mt Iron resident Martin Hill said the rezoning was a "foolhardy plan."

Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust executive officer Julie Scott said the plan change did not include affordable components comparable to other housing developments.

Northlake proposed setting aside 20 sections, but this was inconsistent with other developments, she said.

For example, Shotover Country near Queenstown allocated 26 sections of 750 for affordable housing - 3.5 per cent of the subdivision - while Northlake allocated 20 sections of 1400, 1.4 per cent.

"It's not fair, it's not consistent. Why can they not contribute like other developers?

"The council needs to uphold its own policies on affordable housing by ensuring developers are treated fairly and consistently."

Lawyer Warwick Goldsmith, on behalf of the Meehans, said rejecting the proposal could mean a lengthy rehearing.

"People have concerns, there are appeal rights."

Objectors, mostly adjoining landowners and residents, have said Wanaka does not have the infrastructure for such a large zone and raised concerns about noise and traffic.

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Councillors Ella Lawton, Cath Gilmour and Lex Perkins voted against the recommendation.

The plan change will be publicly notified with a 30-day appeal period.

- The Southland Times

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