‘Olive Leaf’ building opponents cite size, style

An artist’s impression of the historic St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Arrowtown and the proposed...
An artist’s impression of the historic St Patrick’s Catholic Church in Arrowtown and the proposed Olive Leaf building. IMAGE: SUPPLIED
The opponents of the contentious "Olive Leaf" building proposed for land beside St Patrick’s Church in Arrowtown say its style and size would overshadow the historic church.

NoLeaf member Michael Tierney said the incorporated society was formed in 2016 to object to the Olive Leaf Trust’s plans, and its membership had grown to about 270.

Its members believed the proposal "openly flouted" the district plan and Arrowtown design guidelines, he said.

"What’s the point of having special zones, rules and guidelines if they’re not adhered to?"

The fate of the trust’s proposal is being considered at a resource consent hearing in Queenstown this week.

The Gaudi-inspired building, designed by Lake Hayes architect Fred van Brandenburg, attracted 368 submissions when it went out for public consultation last year — 218 in support and 150 opposed.

About 40 submitters are speaking at the hearing, which began on Wednesday and is set down for three days.

The planned building features a leaf-shaped floating roof, a water feature that would channel rainwater down the "leaf" stem to the basement floor level, structural glass mullions across the upper floor, and stone and brick renders.

It would include a church and community hall with capacity for 100, a kitchen, meeting area and adjoining courtyard, a crypt, and three bedrooms that would mainly be used by visiting clergy.

If consent is granted, the trust plans to fund the project with donations.

Mr Tierney said the applicants had provided no evidence to show the Olive Leaf would revitalise the church and pay for the earthquake strengthening it needed.

The Olive Leaf Trust had also failed to provide a funding model for its planning and construction.

Of the 150 submitters opposed, 101 lived in Arrowtown, which was a far higher proportion than those in support — 28 out of 218, he said.

In his opening submissions on Wednesday, Olive Leaf Trust counsel Phil Page said the church’s parish was "fighting for its survival" as its congregation became older and fewer in number.

"The Olive Leaf is the St Patrick’s parish’s vision for sustaining itself, its buildings and the community in the 21st century," Mr Page said

A Queenstown Lakes District Council planner has recommended consent be refused, saying the building’s scale and extensive landscaping would "significantly obscure" the church, detracting from its primacy and adversely affecting the "simple open and spacious values of the site".

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