We can't wait - developer

Alastair Porter.
Alastair Porter.
A Queenstown developer is spending more than $5 million on a section of the long-awaited eastern access road on Frankton Flats in the hope it will motivate authorities to finish the congestion-easing ring-road.

Remarkables Park Ltd co-director Alastair Porter ordered earthworks to begin in earnest this week to build a 650m piece of the unsealed access road, plus two 200m-long intersecting roads, saying: ''We just can't wait any longer.''

Queenstown Lakes District Council chief executive Adam Feeley, however, said the council could not responsibly commit public money until planning issues were resolved and disagreeing parties in litigation reached a compromise.

Mr Porter said he hoped the extension, due to be finished in mid-April, would soon become part of the completed loop-road from the existing Remarkables Park Town Centre around Queenstown Airport's runway end safety area (in a corridor cut into the area's terraced platform) to intersect with the existing industrial Glenda Dr, pass Shotover Park and continue north to connect with the equally long-awaited roundabout on State Highway 6-Ladies Mile.

The community, 160 businesses on Glenda Dr and Shotover Park and 60 businesses in Remarkables Park Town Centre stood to benefit from the eastern access road bringing customers direct from State Highway 6-Ladies Mile.

Passengers had missed flights from Queenstown Airport because they had underestimated the growing volume of traffic slowing them down on the Frankton Flats, Mr Porter said.

And there was ''an urgent need'' for development wanting to start on the Remarkables Park side - the new high school, new houses and the doubling in size of the town centre.

''But it's really only a step in the direction of the need to sort out the State Highway 6-Glenda Dr dangerous intersection and the traffic around the Frankton Flats,'' Mr Porter said.

''Only a week or so ago there was a queue stretching from the BP [service station] roundabout ... to the Shotover Bridge.''

Mr Porter said he was seeking the co-operation of the New Zealand Transport Agency and the council to complete the whole thing.

Mr Porter, a former Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chairman, said the cost of more than $5 million was ''a major contribution'' from Remarkables Park and it would have to be a credit against future roading levies.

''We've been waiting for years for this road to be opened and we've been promised in the past this road would be developed by council.''

Chief executive Adam Feeley said while resolution of the eastern access road would satisfy Mr Porter, it cannot, in fairness to all other parties affected, occur without resolution of the other planning issues.

''The reality is that the eastern access road could be developed tomorrow if all parties were to compromise on the various pieces of ongoing litigation,'' Mr Feeley said.

The council ''has endeavoured to lead a process of mediation, but there has not been a willingness from all parties to sign a settlement.

"We can only responsibly commit public money to the development when there is certainty around all development issues, and we are still awaiting compromise for a settlement to occur.''

Transport agency Otago-Southland Highway manager Ian Duncan said the eastern access road would eventually be part of the council's roading network.

The agency would consider any application from the council for the further development of its roading network, Mr Duncan said.

But while the eastern access road would provide more direct access to the Remarkables Park from the east, it would provide only modest congestion relief over the busy summer holiday period.