Hamilton Deputy Mayor Gordon Chesterman has been threatened with legal action for comments made about a canned Hamilton East retail and office complex proposal.
The Waikato Times last week revealed the prominent corner section on Clyde and Grey streets had been sold to Tolian Properties Ltd.
The company intends to build an upmarket car dealership on the site but it has yet to get resource consent from the Hamilton City Council.
Chesterman told the Times the Tolian Properties' proposal was an exciting opportunity for Hamilton East and was "100 per cent better" than previous plans for the site by developer and former owner Barry Livingston. Livingston had intended to build a retail and office complex.
But Livingston has taken offence at the deputy mayor's comments, saying they damaged his reputation.
Livingston has asked Chesterman to publicly apologise or he will instruct his Queen's Counsel to seek relief through the courts.
In response, Chesterman said he had told Livingston to go ahead and brief his QC. "My reaction was I'm not going to be muzzled by a developer who over the past two years had shown scant regard for public opinion," Chesterman said.
Livingston's proposal generated a mixed reaction in the community with some incensed about the potential for traffic chaos and the loss of the suburb's heritage.
A red brick wall on the site was demolished in 2009 and a group of mature trees was felled in 2007.
"The new development proposed is 100 per cent better than the one he [Livingston] had proposed on the one point about the significantly reduced traffic flow on a very, very busy street that's often blocked with traffic," Chesterman said.
"A car dealership will not have anywhere near the level of traffic so on that basis alone it is 100 per cent better than what Livingston had planned."
Livingston did not respond to a Times request for comment.
- Waikato Times