Wanaka couple Ross and Judith Young are frustrated a
''ridiculously'' long consent process has ultimately ruled out
their proposal for an entertainment complex near the resort,
despite the development being approved three years ago.
The Youngs, and their son Eamon, wanted to build an amusement
park on their rural-zoned property near Wanaka Airport, with
go-karts, bumper boats, tenpin bowling and a cafe.
Their proposal was initially given consent by Queenstown
Lakes District Council-appointed commissioners in 2011.
However, 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
In an unusual move, the council opposed its own
commissioners' decision to grant consent, but was prevented
from calling evidence in opposition at the appeal by an
Environment Court ruling.
The court then overturned the consent last year in a split
decision, in which the two commissioners ruled in favour of
the appellants and held the majority judgement, while Judge
Jon Jackson dissented and recommended the QLDC's earlier
decision granting consent be confirmed.
The Youngs subsequently appealed to the High Court, where
only points of law can be considered, not the merits of the
Their appeal hinged on five alleged errors of law by the
Environment Court and was heard last month in Invercargill by
Justice Cameron Mander.
In his judgement released on Friday, Justice Mander
acknowledged the majority decision of the Environment Court
did contain some errors of law.
''I have not, however, been persuaded that viewed either
individually or collectively they were material errors. The
appeal is therefore dismissed,'' he said.
Mr and Mrs Young said they were ''very disappointed'' with
the final outcome of the ''long and frustrating'' resource
''[The complex] should have been up and running by now, but
instead we've spent over three years going through a
ridiculously ... lengthy process with nothing to show for
it,'' they said in an email to the Otago Daily Times.
''It doesn't seem right that two families ... the closest
1.2km away, could stop the development from happening thus
penalising the wider community of what we felt would have
been a great attraction for locals as well as tourists.''
Counsel for the neighbours Karen Feint said the proposed
development was simply in the wrong place and would be better
located in an industrial/commercial area.
''A large-scale commercial recreation complex would stick out
like a sore thumb on the open rural landscape of the Mt
Barker area. In my opinion it is a good thing that
contemporary development in the Wanaka area is taking place
in the context of a much stricter planning regime, which
should hopefully result in Wanaka avoiding the perils of
unchecked development, such as have occurred in Queenstown in