''Overstated'' and ''emotional'' criticisms from neighbours
of a Wanaka plan change could not be given the same
credibility as professional opinion, lawyer Warwick Goldsmith
Mr Goldsmith was acting yesterday for requester Michaela Ward
Meehan in a public hearing in Wanaka for private Plan Change
45: Northlake Special Zone (PC45), which proposes a 1600-lot,
mixed-density residential subdivision between Aubrey Rd and
the Clutha River.
In his right of reply yesterday afternoon, after five and
a-half days of evidence for and against PC45, Mr Goldsmith
said lawyers acting for opposing submitters had failed to
provide sufficient analysis or evidence to support their
argument, or used qualified planning consultants.
''Perhaps they couldn't find experts to support their
views,'' Mr Goldsmith said, prompting Commissioner David
Whitney to caution against speculation.
Mr Goldsmith said submissions from ''lay persons'' living
near the plan change area were ''frequently overstated ...
emotional and without criticising those submitters, they have
other agendas ... they want large, low-density subdivision''.
Objections they had raised included views from Mt Iron being
degraded by the development, despite two professional
landscape architects having no particular concerns in that
Mr Goldsmith urged the commissioners to be careful about the
expectations of neighbours of the PC45 area, citing in
particular Elisabeth Muir's view that nothing could mitigate
the negative effects of PC45 on residents of Aubrey Rd, who
had deliberately bought into a semi-rural environment.
''[Mrs Muir] can not come before you and say: 'I expect you
to maintain my pastoral view'. That is not a reasonable
expectation under the [Resource Management] Act,'' Mr
''She can expect to have her view taken into account and
balanced against all the other considerations. The Resource
Management Act puts community rights and public rights above
private rights and that applies from both sides of the
He said the PC45 zone would take a generation to develop so
any adverse effects - such as increasing traffic and changing
outlooks - would be ''incremental'' rather than sudden.
The Queenstown Lakes district's 20-year planning horizon was
unjustified and worked against holistic, big-picture
planning, Mr Goldsmith said, before urging the commissioners
to be forward-thinking in their decision.
''At least parts of this land are obviously suitable for
development ... and perhaps of equal importance is what
happens if you did say no?
"The rural general zone will remain and if anyone reasonably
thinks the landowners are going to sit there for the next 20
years while the council decides what it wants to do with it
then that is not a reasonable possibility.
''You need to make a decision now about what will happen to
this land resource ... the land owners are entitled to an
answer ... council could not sterilise this land, it would
Commissioners Whitney and Lyal Cocks will now consider all
the evidence presented before making a recommendation to the
Queenstown Lakes District Council on whether PC45 should be