Subdivision decision is expected soon
Subdivision of Lake Tekapo's commercial foreshore could get under way early next year.
The Mackenzie District Council released its proposed development plan for the foreshore in August, and is hoping for a decision soon.
Chief executive Wayne Barnett said yesterday the council's application for subdivision consents was being assessed by Christchurch-based consultancy firm Davie-Lovell Smith.
"We have contracted the work out, firstly to ensure the decision was seen to be impartial, and secondly because of our stretched resources. There has been a reasonably big increase in our consent processing workload in the past few months," Mr Barnett said.
"This is a pretty complex and involved process, but we are pleased with the rate of progress. We hope to get a decision in weeks rather than months."
The council commissioned the Christchurch-based Hughes Developments to prepare a subdivision plan. The Lake Tekapo commercial foreshore covers 1.2 hectares.
Mr Barnett said star-gazing operator Earth & Sky and supermarket chain Foodstuffs were talking with the district council about developments.
He confirmed the agreement with Foodstuffs would go "unconditional" when the council's subdivision consent was approved.
"Although the council will complete the subdivision, Foursquare would still have to apply for consents for building and infrastructure. We haven't put any firm timeline on building, but we hope to get the preparation for subdivision early next year," he said.
Earth & Sky founder Graeme Murray has given more details to Fairfax about its plans for the area.
Mr Murray said it could include building a $5 million "window to the universe" educational facility on the lake's shore to cater for the growing interest in star-gazing, while he was also hoping to source an 8.5 metre-high telescope from the United States.
Earth & Sky runs star-gazing tours in conjunction with Mt John Observatory in Tekapo. The observatory hosts the country's biggest telescope, which measures 1.8 metres across.
However, Mr Murray was more circumspect when contacted yesterday.
"We're still talking to the council about a number of ideas. Realistically, it could be 12 months before anything gets under way," he said. I worry I've said too much. However, we know star-gazing tourism is booming, and we need to accommodate the growth."
- © Fairfax NZ News