Qualified support from council for school's use of land

A proposal by Remarkables Primary School to transform and occupy a section of adjoining reserve land for sports activities has been considered worthwhile by the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

Cr Jude Battson, during yesterday's community services committee meeting, labelled it a "splendid idea" and both Lex Perkins and Russell Mawhinney agreed it would be a good use of the land.

However, although not in opposition to the idea, Cr Simon Stamers-Smith raised concerns that if the proposal was not subject to extensive consultation there would be "inherent problems".

"I think you should be very careful in putting this together," Cr Stamers-Smith said.

He recalled a case elsewhere in the country, where a similar proposal was instigated and neighbouring residents sought an injunction over the constant activities.

The school proposed bookings for the field could be managed by Lakes Leisure for times when the school did not need it.

"Given that Remarkables Primary School will not be using the field all year, it has been suggested that if the proposal is approved, that Lakes Leisure manage the field for bookings during weekends, public holidays and school holidays," it said.

The council's community services committee chairwoman, Cath Gilmour, said the council had to clarify this was not setting a "precedent" for the public to gain council-owned land. It should firmly establish irrigation, repairs and maintenance would be at the school's cost, "because they are basically getting the use of it [the reserve] for $1 a year".

Major earthworks would have to be undertaken, for which the school would need resource consent, since the proposed works were larger than permissible in the rural general zone.

The school would inform residents of the proposal via a mail drop and the council advised that the information should detail both the proposal and licence conditions.