Council considering appointment of commissioners

The Queenstown Lakes District Council will consider the appointment of commissioners for its proposed Plan Change 50 at its meeting in Wanaka tomorrow.

District Plan manager Matthew Paetz said ''tentative approaches'' had been made to Sir John Hansen and Jane Taylor to make up the hearing panel for the plan change, which will be presented to the council next month.

The council proposed the change last month to rezone about 13ha of council-owned and private land as Queenstown town centre zone.

The land, which is now zoned high density residential, includes the mainly council-owned Lakeview site, for which it is investigating a $60 million convention centre.

It also includes privately owned land between Lakeview and the existing CBD.

The council last week unveiled concept plans for the convention centre, as well as the potential development of a a 150-room hotel, 185 high-density residential units and 6500sq m of commercial and industrial space.

Mr Paetz said Sir John had potential commitments associated with the Christchurch rebuild, and his availability depended on the early confirmation of his appointment.

Sir John, a High Court judge from 1995 to 2008, was ''highly experienced'' in Resource Management Act matters, but unlike Ms Taylor, was not on the council's list of hearing commissioners.

''However, it is considered that the level of public interest, and potential litigation, in the proposed plan change is such that it is appropriate to have a person of both his experience and standing in legal circles to chair the panel.''

If the council decides to notify the plan change next month, the hearing will begin on November 17.