Court supports Cardrona development

The Environment Court has upheld a decision permitting the rezoning of 131ha of Cardrona Valley land that could pave the way for a large residential and hotel development at Mt Cardrona Station.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council last year approved plan change 18 for 131.6ha owned by Mt Cardrona Station Ltd, but then another Cardrona developer, Brooklynne Holdings Ltd appealed to the Environment Court.

The court hearing was held in November and December and final submissions were received in February.

Mt Cardrona Station already holds existing consents for a large 844-unit residential and visitor accommodation development, but has an agreement with the council not to exercise that consent until it has decided whether to proceed under the special zone or under the consents.

Brooklynne owns land in the Cardrona Valley and has resource consent to create a range of visitor and residential accommodation. It mainly opposed the zone change on landscape principles.

Two third parties, the Cardrona Valley Residents and Ratepayers Association and the Upper Clutha Environmental Society, were also involved in the hearing.

They were submitters to the plan change, which was designed to replace the rural visitor zone that overlay about 15.7ha of the land.

A large portion - 93.1ha - of the land will remain open space.

The ratepayers and residents association supported the zone change.

The environmental society generally supported Brooklynne's position.

The decision by Judge Jon Jackson and two commissioners was released yesterday.

"Our overall conclusion is that plan change 18 would better implement the district-wide objectives and policies of the district plan than leaving the rural visitor zone in place," the court said.

However, the court has amended the plan change in several places to tighten rules relating to, among other things, activity areas, the prohibition of development on an escarpment close to Mt Cardrona Rd, and planting and ecology programmes.

Mt Cardrona Station Ltd, a company associated with Auckland businessmen Ross Hawkins and Tony Fountain, must lodge its amended set of objectives, policies, rules and structure plans for the Mt Cardrona Station special zone by the end of September.

Any appeal of the court's decision must be lodged by August 2.


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