Retail precinct debated

Neil Webster is one of a large number of residents living near Wanaka's proposed private plan change 45 - Northlake special zone who are opposed to the development. He inspected the landscape (at rear) which would be affected by the plan change from a neighbour's Mt Iron property yesterday. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
Neil Webster is one of a large number of residents living near Wanaka's proposed private plan change 45 - Northlake special zone who are opposed to the development. He inspected the landscape (at rear) which would be affected by the plan change from a neighbour's Mt Iron property yesterday. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.

The inclusion of a retail precinct in a proposed 1600-lot Wanaka subdivision is among the issues being debated at a hearing this week.

A small cluster of shops is included in the structure plan for private Plan Change 45 (PC45), which, if approved, would rezone around 220ha of land between Aubrey Rd and the Clutha River for mixed density housing and community activities.

Concerns have been raised by some submitters and Queenstown Lakes District Council consultant planner Vicki Jones that the retail cluster would add to the negative visual and amenity effects of the proposed development and take trade from Wanaka's other commercial zones.

In her planner's report, Ms Jones recommended no commercial activity be allowed within the zone.

She said there was ample supply of commercially zoned land in Wanaka covering the full range of commercial types and Northlake residents could buy convenience items from outlets within the business zone on Anderson Rd or the Albert Town shop - both 2-3km away.

''The dispersal of commercial and retail activity is not a sustainable model for Wanaka,'' Ms Jones wrote.

''It is important that the vibrancy and relevance of Wanaka's existing town centre [to locals as well as tourists] is not diluted by out-of-centre retail development [no matter how small] and that the planned commercial core at Three Parks is encouraged to develop, not only as a large format retail area but also, over time, as a second centre with higher amenity, smaller-scale mainstreet shops that service the local Three Parks residents and the wider community.''

At the hearing at Edgewater yesterday, architecture and retail consultant John Long - speaking for the PC45 applicant - said the shops would be located in the centre of Northlake, away from the main highway and other passing traffic, so the main customer catchment would be people living or staying in the subdivision's 1600 homes.

He envisaged a cafe/restaurant, hairdresser, takeaway food outlet and convenience store as possible activities in the 1000sq m retail cluster and said the ''subsistence'' shops would have ''no significant off-site retail effects''.

The retail area would be different from those at Three Parks and the town centre, so Northlake residents would still travel outside of the subdivision for the bulk of their shopping.

Similarly, Northlake shops would pose no threat to the tavern and corner shop at Albert Town, which were established businesses that would continue to be sustained by their existing customer base in the Albert Town catchment.

On Monday, the applicant's counsel, Warwick Goldsmith, said because trade competition could not be considered under the Resource Management Act, no weight should be placed on a submission from Central Land Holdings Ltd (CLHL), which raised concerns PC45 might ''facilitate a new commercial area and undermine the other commercial areas of the town''.

CLHL was associated with Three Parks developer Willowridge Investments Ltd - Allan Dippie is a director and shareholder of both companies - and Willowridge was a trade competitor in respect of Northlake, Mr Goldsmith said.

The hearing continues today and is expected to wrap up on Monday.

lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz