Case for supermarket heard

Judge Laurie Newhook asked Foodstuffs yesterday whether the proposed Queenstown Pak'n Save supermarket would consider toning down the yellow colour of the supermarket's signs while trees grew to an efficient screening height, "given that there is some controversy about the use of bright yellow".

General manager for Foodstuffs Roger Davidson replied it would be something his company would consider "for an interim period".

The question was asked during an Environment Court hearing in which Foodstuffs' counsel Jen Crawford said the supermarket would provide "affordable groceries to an area that is renowned for its lack of affordable living", as well as significant employment and investment.

The submission was heard as part of a direct referral from Mitre 10 Mega, which proposes to operate beside the Pak'n Save site, to the Environment Court for resource consent - a first for Queenstown.

Ms Crawford told the court the pending decision on the re-zoning of Frankton Flats, known as Plan Change 19, should not affect the Pak'n Save outcome.

In her submission she acknowledged the Queenstown Lakes District Council and Queenstown Central Ltd both expressed concerns the case would "undermine the integrity of the plan and/or pre-empt the outcome".

She said, however, "given the benefit to the community from this proposal, the question that must be asked is whether it is appropriate to make Foodstuffs wait if the grant of consent is otherwise warranted".

The resource consent application for the $30 million supermarket was turned down last October by the council "on the basis of a broad concern that this might undermine the future planning framework for the area".

The applicants vowed to appeal to the Environment Court.

Ms Crawford said the proposed site was zoned rural general but "you can be confident that an urban zone will emerge through the PC19 process".

The appellant, Queenstown Central Ltd, was a trade competitor, in which case they "have no place" in Resource Management Act processes unless "they can unequivocally demonstrate direct environmental effects".

The hearing continues today and is expected to continue for two weeks.