Uni shelving academic centre project for two years

The University of Otago council has decided to delay the multimillion-dollar Hakitekura Development Project for two years, given its current financial situation.

In 2016, Remarkables Station owners Jillian and Dick Jardine gave their 4ha Woolshed Bay property near Queenstown to the University of Otago Foundation Trust, including the old shearers’ quarters and a historic woolshed house.

Director of development and alumni relations Shelagh Murray said the university was grateful to the Jardines for one of the most significant gifts it had received and developing the property would be a priority as finances became available.

‘‘In the long term, the university plans to develop the property into an academic centre to host conferences and seminars alongside activities connected with various university endeavours,’’ she said.

‘‘Publicly accessible activities such as events, open lectures, public seminars and adult and community education courses will support those community links.’’

Campus development director Tanya Syddall said the University Council decided to delay the project for two years, but if circumstances changed, or funds were raised externally, it would reconsider the decision based on an affordability analysis at that time.

The consent application was lodged in 2020. The ODT at the time reported the redevelopment would cost about $12 million.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council approved resource consent to develop the academic centre last year.

However, the process to gain building consent and engineering approval is still being worked through.