Negotiations not stalling Tekapo foreshore plans

MATTHEW LITTLEWOOD
Last updated 13:28 08/05/2014

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Negotiations over a potential new site for the Youth Hotel Association in Tekapo are ongoing.

But the Mackenzie District Council's chief executive Wayne Barnett insists it is not holding up development of Lake Tekapo's commercial foreshore.

The 1.2 hectare section is being developed by the council in conjunction with Christchurch firm Hughes Developments.

So far the council has completed agreements for sale of land to Foodstuffs. The company will develop a new supermarket, but the council was still awaiting final plans.

However, Barnett said it had only a "conditional agreement" with YHA and star-gazing operators Earth & Sky.

"We've asked council staff to go back to discuss alternate sites for the YHA, after there were some concerns from the public about the YHA's proposed location," Barnett said.

"There was a community board meeting. Many people felt the area could be better used for other sorts of tourist facilities. Some people felt the foreshore area could be best used for hospitality, such as restaurants or similar activities," he said.

Barnett said the first stage of the development of Tekapo's commercial foreshore should begin in September.

"We hope the actual subdivision infrastructure will be complete by February for Foodstuffs to get on with the development of the supermarket," he said.

Barnett said if the council could not reach an agreement for a suitable alternate site with YHA, the existing proposed site would be likely to go ahead.

"We don't anticipate our current negotiations with YHA to hold up the development of the commercial foreshore area," he said.

YHA chief executive Mark Wells said he was happy with the pace of negotiations.

"We understand there has been some public concern about the proposed location, but it's still too early to confirm anything yet. This is a complicated process," he said.

The YHA currently operates a 36-bed hostel at Tekapo, but Wells said it wanted to expand to meet growing tourist demands.

Earth & Sky, which hopes to build extra educational facilities to go with its star-gazing tourism operations, would also be part of the first stage of development.

"We're hoping Earth & Sky will go unconditional within two months. The council has resolved to proceed with the contract on the strength of the Foodstuffs sale alone," he said.

Barnett said the council hoped to gain at least $2.5m in revenue from the first two land sales.

However, some of the proceeds from the sales would go towards the engineering and development of the site.

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- The Timaru Herald

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