A Queenstown company is taking its battle with the
Queenstown Lakes District Council over developing prime land to
the High Court.
Shotover Park Ltd (SPL) has lodged an appeal over the
Environment Court's interim decision on the rezoning of land
at Frankton Flats.
The 69ha of rural fields, off State Highway 6 near the Events
Centre, is being redesignated to allow for urban development.
SPL - run by Remarkables Park Ltd developer Alastair Porter
and his family - plans a $50 million retail site on land it
owns there. That includes two ''big box'' stores - a Pak'n
Save supermarket and a Mitre 10 Mega hardware store.
The Environment Court's interim ruling sides with the
council's original Plan Change 19 decision to zone that
section of Frankton Flats for industrial use. Mr Porter said
his company ''regretted'' the action but had little choice
other than to appeal.
It was lodged on Tuesday.
''There are issues with the decision worthy of appeal and the
companies need to preserve their rights in respect of those
issues,'' Mr Porter said. The company ''remained committed to
achieving an agreed settlement to avoid further litigation''
and planned to meet the QLDC as early as today to explore
settlement options, he said.
Queenstown Mayor Vanessa Van Uden said when contacted ''it is
disappointing that the resolution of Frankton Flats is set to
SPL's appeal takes issue with 72 of the court's findings and
determinations, and lists 20 ''questions of law''. Foodstuffs
South Island Ltd, which operates Pak'n Save, has also
appealed the interim decision, which was released in early
''The community will no doubt be surprised by some key
aspects of the PC19 decision,'' Mr Porter said.
''Firstly, the council spent considerable time and money
preventing, rather than enabling, development.
''For a long time, council opposed both Pak'n Save and Mitre
10 Mega developments, yet no member of the Queenstown
community ever lodged submissions against them.
''In fact, they have been widely supported.''
The five-year dispute is complicated by a separate
Environment Court decision to approve resource consent for
the two stores after hearings last year.
That decision gave approval to Cross Roads Properties (Mitre
10 Mega) and Foodstuffs South Island Ltd and has itself been
appealed to the High Court by developer Tony Gapes' firm
Queenstown Central plans to build a $125 million mall on land
next to the contested zones - land dubbed Hendo's Hole after
a failed development by David Henderson.
In turn, SPL lodged a High Court appeal against planning
approval for Gapes' development - dubbed Five Mile - in
In 2007, the council notified its intention to change its
district plan to allow for the urbanisation of Frankton Flats
- labelled Plan Change 19.
Eleven parties later submitted appeals to the Environment
Mr Porter, reflecting on the process, says the delays are
symptomatic of a much deeper problem: ''an inability for the
Queenstown community to be able to shape its own future
without having to call in outsiders in the form of expensive
consultants, commissioners, lawyers and ultimately judges to
resolve community issues''.
''The cost is enormous, the time to find a resolution takes
forever, the outcome is unpredictable and sometimes not what
the community wants or ever envisaged.
''A key reason for this is the community's views and those
affected landowners are not being fairly considered by staff
at council, and ultimately by elected members of the
Two weeks ago, Queenstown Airport boss Scott Paterson said
efforts to wrest a different parcel of land from Remarkables
Park Ltd were ''slow, frustrating and extremely litigious''.
Mr Porter labelled his comments ''misleading public relations
The developer also says the plan change process is too
complicated for a layman to understand and councils
throughout New Zealand should ''make a genuine effort to
canvas community views in relation to planning proposals''.
''The fundamental issue is that the council is promoting
extraordinarily complex planning documents which even the
court had trouble understanding, and which the community
could have had no hope of understanding. ''For whatever
reasons, the council has consistently refused to provide
clear statements regarding its intended outcomes for the
Frankton Flats. ''Instead, they have constantly changed their
plans and have hidden behind nebulous planning jargon.''
The community was never asked for its views in
straightforward terms, he said.
- Paul Taylor of the Moutain Scene.