Mega III: the applications continue

GRANT BRYANT
Last updated 05:00 18/11/2011

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Backers of a proposed $20 million Mega Mitre 10 store in Frankton Flats are hoping it is third time lucky in gaining consent for the Queenstown franchise.

The resource consent application filed by H&J Smith outlines previous attempts to open a store, which were turned down.

The first attempt, in 2003, was for a proposed site close to the current location being applied for. The site would be on the corner of an extended Glenda Drive, and a new arterial road.

It was "shelved due to zoning issues," the consent application says.

A 2007 application did not advance because "land was made unavailable due the Queenstown Airport Corporation's requirement for land for the airport," the application states.

The H&J Smith group has been in business in Queenstown since 1971, and currently operate the Remarkables Park Mitre 10, H&J Smith department store and Element outdoor sports store.

The $20 million investment by the group "reinforces the belief the company has in future growth of the Wakatipu [and] Central Otago region," the application states. However, since the group's 2007 "shelved" application, zoning challenges in the Frankton Flats area have not become easier.

A resource consent application by Foodstuffs South Island Ltd – which H&J Smith managing director Acton Smith supported, was rejected because of plan change complications last month.

Mr Smith yesterday said the Queenstown store was of strategic importance for the Mega Mitre 10 group, which is approaching its goal of establishing a nationwide network. "It's all about national pricing, meaning Queenstown people will be able to pay the same price for goods as people in Auckland, or anywhere in the country," he said.

Although the current application had taken a lot of work and planning, and was tailored to plan change specifications, the zoning complications surrounding the Frankton Flats area were a concern, Mr Smith said.

"This plan change has been going for so many years with no resolution. We need resolution so people can move forward. I believe we will see our application supported in an Environment Court appeal by Foodstuffs, because we're both trying to bring the largest stores to the district to provide the best-priced products."

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- The Southland Times

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