Despite final pleas to reject or scale back a 1400-lot Wanaka
development, the Queenstown Lakes District Council has voted
to adopt the Northlake private plan change.
However, the possibility was also tabled of the council
appealing its own decision on the grounds that Plan Change
45's (PC45) affordable housing component is inadequate.
Several neighbours of the proposed Northlake special zone
spoke during the public forum of yesterday's council meeting
in Queenstown about the adverse effect the change would have.
''We're pleading for your understanding and empathy for those
of us who are directly affected by the decision,'' Jan
Paulson said via a live video feed from Wanaka, before
requesting reduced housing density or a buffer zone.
Wanaka artist Martin Hill said rather then proceeding with
the ''foolhardy'' plan change, the council should look to Cr
Ella Lawton, research manager at the Otago Polytechnic Centre
of Sustainable Practice, for guidance.
Cr Lawton had been elected in the hope ''a person of her
calibre might have some influence on the outcome of such
occasions'', Mr Hill said.
That the plan change had been recommended for approval before
the district plan review was completed was an ''appalling
statement of the intentions of the council and a reflection
on the degree on which you're concerned with the opinion of
Wanaka residents and senior ecologists''.
Cr Lawton said the PC45 land was the last undeveloped area
within Wanaka's inner growth boundary and she did not believe
the proposal achieved the best possible urban design for
reducing its ecological footprint.
Queenstown Lakes Housing Trust executive officer Julie Scott
said Northlake's affordable housing contribution was
inconsistent with that of other developers in the district.
She gave the example of Shotover Country, where developers
had given the trust 26 titled sections from the 750 sections,
compared with Northlake's proposal to sell the trust 20 of
its 1400 sections at a cost of $3.2 million.
She urged the council to uphold its own Plan Change 24 -
Community Housing (PC24) policies regarding developers'
provision of affordable housing.
Cr Cath Gilmour was concerned with the ''substantial decrease
in what the community gains'' from PC45.
She said no affordable housing assessment appeared to have
been carried out which she understood was a developer's duty
under PC24. She suggested the council could appeal against
the Northlake plan change on those grounds.
However, Mayor Vanessa van Uden said that would have to be
considered at the next council meeting, which would be within
the 30-day appeal period.
Ms van Uden and Crs Calum MacLeod, Mel Gazzard, Craig
Ferguson and Merv Aoke voted to adopt the commissioners'
recommendation PC45 be incorporated into the district plan.
Crs Lawton, Gilmour and Lex Perkins voted against the
Cr Simon Stamers-Smith had previously left the meeting, and
Cr Lyal Cocks was excluded from the discussion as he was one
of two commissioners who made the recommendation.
Following the meeting, Cr Gilmour told the Otago Daily Times
she had been incorrect about PC24 requiring developers to
carry out an assessment of affordable housing needs which
meant any potential appeal case was weakened.