The arguments over whether or not permission should have been
granted to build an amusement park near Wanaka have once
again been aired in court.
The application, first heard in 2011, has been to a consent
hearing and the Environment Court and yesterday reached
Justice Cameron Mander in the High Court in Invercargill.
Wanaka couple Ross and Judith Young and their son Eamon want
to build an amusement park on part of their rural-zoned
property near Wanaka airport.
It would feature karts, bumper boats, tenpin bowling and a
Commissioners appointed by the Queenstown Lakes District
Council (QLDC) initially granted consent, but neighbours
Ulrich Staufenberg and Jeffrey and Margaret Feint lodged an
appeal in the Environment Court, saying the park would
adversely affect the rural experience of the area and set a
precedent for future commercial development.
The Environment Court overturned the consent in March last
year, and the Youngs appealed to the High Court.
A full day of submissions was heard yesterday before Justice
Mander reserved his decision.
Only points of law can be considered in the High Court, not
the merits of the application.
Opening the case for the Youngs, counsel Jan Caunter said she
would ask the court to consider what she believed were five
errors in law in the Environment Court decision.
Originally, she had planned to pursue seven, but two points
had been deleted.
The Environment Court decision had been ''most unusual'' and
''confusing'', she said.
It was a split decision.
Two commissioners declined the Youngs' consent but Judge Jon
Jackson was in favour of granting consent.
The majority view held by the commissioners became the
court's decision, she said.
Ms Caunter said she had never heard of an Environment Court
decision being split in such a way and in her research had
found only one previous example, relating to the Clyde Dam,
in the 1980s.
She asked the High Court to consider the weight which should
be given to Judge Jackson's view, and the weight which should
be given to the view of two commissioners, who even though
they were the majority, were not judges.
Karen Feint appeared for the neighbours.
Tony Ray appeared for the QLDC but told the court the council
would abide by the court's decision and he was there only to
offer advice on the council's district plan.