Not holding Alexandra back: Cadogan

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan fires back at critics at the Alexandra and Clyde Business...
Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan fires back at critics at the Alexandra and Clyde Business Breakfast. PHOTO: SHANNON THOMSON
Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan has fired back at critics at who say council processes are "holding Alexandra back".

At a meeting of the Alexandra and Clyde Business Group last week, chairman Stu Millis presented an array of concerns — which have previously been expressed at meetings and other forums — to Southland MP Joseph Mooney.

Those concerns included frustrations from developers who say bureaucratic red tape is strangling development and question whether Alexandra is "being held back" by Central Otago District Council (CODC) decision-making.

Other concerns raised included increasing costs faced by local businesses, a lack of appropriately zoned sections and the district plan being 15 years out of date.

"There are justifiable concerns as to lack of co-operation from the council in supporting important economic growth in Alexandra," Mr Millis said.

The situation went back "many years" and highlighted failings with "forward planning, vision and a lack of availability of appropriately zoned sections", he said.

Alexandra developer Russell Ibbotson said his proposed 60-section subdivision, William Hill Estate in Dunstan Rd, had sold out only to be rejected by council planners.

He questioned why it was turned down, while the Parkburn Development near Cromwell was approved.

"The William Hill situation is probably a classic example of something that should be happening but is being held back by council and there is a real danger that council’s decision could kill this subdivision," he said.

"The application was made for a plan change because it was not compliant with the out-of-date district plan but, as I say, compliant with [the Vincent] spatial plan and plan change 19."

Plan change 19 (PC19) proposes a comprehensive suite of changes to the way the region’s residential areas are zoned and managed, and has been driven by the direction set out in the Vincent and Cromwell spatial plans.

Submissions are now before the council hearings panel.

Mr Cadogan agreed the district plan had taken too long to get changed but it had been affected by government changes implemented partway through, which meant council had to start over.

The narrative Alexandra was being held back did not match latest GDP data, which showed Vincent ward had experienced 7.5% growth compared with the wider Central Otago (6.3%) and nationally (3%), he said.

The yield resulting from the Vincent spatial plan would also be an additional 4230 sections including 1960 in Alexandra, 75% of those coming under PC19 if it went through as put forward.

"This talk of Alexandra being held back, this talk of the sky is falling on our head, is proven wrong by those figures and if ever it was going to be proved right that something was done wrong in the process with [William Hill Estate], the Environment Court was the only place to have that argument. Not ads in the paper saying Alexandra is failing, not coming here saying it’s all doom and gloom because compared to just about everywhere else in New Zealand, we’re doing bloody well," Mr Cadogan said.

The William Hill development came under the geographical area of PC19, whereas the Parkburn development was outside that and was "an entirely different kettle of fish", he said.