City planners have sided with residents of a semi-rural
Dunedin suburb against development of a subdivision on the
Wingatui racecourse site.
But the Otago Racing Club says the money the subdivision
could bring in is vital to secure a future for the southern
racing industry and the livelihoods of those involved in it.
The proposal is to divide a strip of land along the Gladstone
Rd North side of the racecourse site into 11 sections,
requiring a rezoning of the land from rural to residential.
Residents have strongly opposed the plan, saying they are
concerned the rural feel of the area will be lost.
The racing club says Wingatui needs to become a centre of
excellence for thoroughbred racing to ''secure its future
position within the industry'', but a ''huge'' capital
investment is required to do that.
Club chief executive Andre Klein said although the club could
get part of the money from its own business and through
funding from New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR), it was
not ''anywhere near enough'' to secure the kind of facilities
and amenities needed to improve the course to the standard
Options for raising the capital had been well considered, he
''Every inch of the venue has been reviewed at length. The
land where the development is being proposed is clearly
deemed excess to any future requirements as far as horse
racing goes. It therefore provides us with an outstanding
''It will also secure the livelihoods of the existing
stakeholders in the industry; the trainers, the track work
riders, the grooms and stable hands and increase the job
opportunities for locals as it can be anticipated more
trainers will base themselves at Wingatui.''
Other clubs around the country had recently gone through
similar processes, encouraged by NZTR, of identifying excess
land and selling or developing it.
They included Te Rapa in Hamilton, Trentham in Wellington and
Ascot Park in Invercargill. Auckland Racing Club at Ellerslie
had developed ''one of the most spectacular racing facilities
in the world'' by generating funds through shedding excess
land, he said.
But Dunedin City Council planner Lianne Darby said the
council had little scope under the Resource Management Act to
consider, while assessing a consent application, whether the
proposed development was needed or financially expedient.
She recommended the hearings panel, of Crs Andrew Noone,
David Benson-Pope, Kate Wilson and Mosgiel-Taieri Community
Board chairman Bill Feather, decline the consent largely
because of the effect on the remaining rural quality of the
''The proposed density of the development is such that any
rural qualities currently evident at Wingatui will be largely
lost through the introduction of this number of houses.''
There were also possible reverse sensitivity issues from the
racecourse, particularly around parking on race days, and
declining the consent would give confidence to the zoning,
which neighbours, when buying property, had legitimately
expected to remain rural, she said.
Additional traffic generated by the new houses would be
noticeable and could potentially adversely affect the quality
of life of residents and she was concerned about precedent,
particularly on the racecourse site where there was ''quite a
bit of curtilage'' with development potential.
''It is my view that the granting of this consent will set a
precedent for the racecourse site where it will be difficult
to decline a similar proposal at a later date.''
Mr Klein said he was not surprised the planner had opposed
the application, as it was a planner's job to defend the
zoning in the district plan.
The panel will hear from Ms Darby, the club and submitters at
a public hearing in Dunedin tomorrow morning.