Northlake, near Wanaka. Photo by ODT.
Today it is 220ha of dry grass, kanuka, wilding pines and
But if the Queenstown Lakes District Council adopts a
recommendation on Thursday, the area known as Northlake, near
Wanaka, will become the largest single residential
development in the town's history.
While firm figures are hard to come by, private Plan Change
45 - Northlake Special Zone (PC45) - could eventually add
almost 1400 houses to Wanaka, boost the population by 50% and
nearly double the number of already available or consented
In a decision made public yesterday, commissioners
recommended the council approve PC45 for land between Aubrey
Rd and the Clutha River, at present zoned rural general and
The plan change would enable a range of residential lot
sizes, from medium to low density and larger residential
lots, plus a neighbourhood commercial component, child care
centre, pool and playing fields.
The developers claim PC45 will promote housing affordability,
with 20 serviced residential sections available at no more
than $160,000, subject to an option in favour of the
Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust.
The zone will also provide for, potentially, another 235
medium-density housing lots targeted at the affordable end of
the market range.
John Edmonds, of John Edmonds and Associates Ltd which
prepared the plan change application, said the landowners had
been guided by the 2007 Wanaka Structure Plan and took into
account the community's long-term intentions for the area, as
well as future growth, education and transportation needs.
The commissioners said while the land subject to PC45 was not
needed for residential development at this time, there were
advantages in proceeding with it.
The new zone would provide choice in residential location.
The rate at which the land was developed would depend on the
landowners' assessment of market conditions and it was not
appropriate to ''ration'' the supply of land.
It would achieve certainty about the ultimate use of the
land, ensure development occurred in a co-ordinated and
integrated manner in accordance with the Wanaka Structure
Plan and much of the land subject to PC45 was screened from
There were no issues surrounding impacts on social
infrastructure and the wider community that would justify a
rejection of PC45, the commissioners said.
They did not follow council planner Vicki Jones'
recommendation to slash the maximum number of dwellings from
the proposed 1600 to 710 and to delay the first stage of
development - about 440 sites - until 2019, with the
remainder staged over 10-15 years.
They did make several amendments to PC45, effectively
reducing the maximum number of dwellings to about 1380.
Yesterday, some of the many opposing submitters living near
the PC45 land were shocked and disappointed by the
Neil Webster, of Anderson Rd, said he and a group of
residents spent $12,000-$15,000 on lawyers fighting the plan
change ''but everything we put forward has been thrown out''.
He objected mainly to the noise and extra traffic and
considered the reduction in the number of lots nothing more
than a ''bit of a slap in the face with a wet fish'' for the
developers, making little difference to the impact of the
PC45 would be ''a disaster'' for Wanaka, which did not have
the infrastructure to cope with the increased population.
He expected Anderson Rd would become clogged with cars, and
said he would consider selling up and finding a quieter place
Aubrey Rd residents Bruce and Jan Paulson and Barry South
said they had bought their properties because of the rural
''We bought here to have a section on the edge of town but
it's no longer the edge,'' Mr Paulson said.
''It's just the person with the most money that gets what
they want and there's obviously big money behind this.''
Mr South said the community's input into the Wanaka Structure
Plan appeared to have been ignored.
Noelene Pullar, also an Aubrey Rd property owner, said Wanaka
was a place of ''outstanding scenic beauty'' which needed to
be protected, particularly the views from the Mt Iron walking
track which overlooked the PC45 land.
''When you look across ... towards the land and mountains
you'll have a sea of iron roofs in the foreground,'' Mrs
Kevin King, who started Mitre 10 in Wanaka and lives on the
opposite side of town from Northlake, supported the plan
change - although not its commercial element - because it
provided for Wanaka to grow in an orderly fashion.
''I would have thought it was a natural progression for the
town in that area.''
He believed PC45 followed on from the 2020 planning process,
in 2002, where planners set town boundaries at the three
rivers and ''clearly then recommended'' no more large
residential blocks, because Wanaka would run out of room.