Leaflet writer opposed to infill housing

The author of an anonymous leaflet opposing medium-density infill housing in Arrowtown has been revealed.

Inquiries by the Otago Daily Times have found its writer to be Tania Flight, daughter of Arrowtown farmer Roger Monk and spokeswoman for the stalled Arrowtown South and Brackens Ridge residential housing developments.

The leaflet, which has been appearing in the township's letterboxes for the past week, encourages residents to make submissions on the infill policy contained in the Queenstown Lakes District Council's proposed district plan.

The plan aims to unlock housing supply through more intensive development in existing residential zones by reducing section sizes and increasing allowable building height and coverage.

Mrs Flight wrote that the plan change would damage the township's ''character and charm that we have been fighting so hard to protect''.

The alternative was to extend its urban growth boundary so that it could absorb its share of the district's population growth.

Accompanied by a submission form, the leaflet urges residents to make submissions on the proposed district plan before this Friday's deadline. Mrs Flight is overseas but her husband, Nick Flight, said his wife had produced the leaflet out of concern that residents had not grasped the implications of the infill policy.

''This is going to slip through and people are going to look back for ever more and say `we don't like having 400 extra houses and everything all squashed in together'.''

Mr Monk said he had no involvement with the leaflet, but agreed with his daughter's sentiments.

The perverse outcome of council and community reluctance to extend the township's boundary was that property values were continuing to rise.

''The longer they leave it the worse it gets.''

After spending more than five years promoting the Arrowtown South subdivision on 17ha of his land on the township's southern boundary, he had given up, he said.

Although the Environment Court had approved a scaled-back version in March, it was uneconomic and a ''complete and utter waste'' of the land involved.

He had also been the promoter, with Don Mahon, of the 62-lot Brackens Ridge special housing area proposal on Centennial Ave.

The proposal was rejected by the council in June.

Mr Monk said the problem of housing the district's growing population was ''staring everybody in the face'', and Arrowtown South and Brackens Ridge were ''dead projects'' unless the council changed its thinking.

Arrowtown ward councillor Scott Stevens said he was happy with residents anonymously distributing information about the proposed district plan ''so long as it's not misinformation''.

He had been disappointed by the low turnout at two council drop-in sessions in Arrowtown about the plan, so encouraging people to make submissions was a good thing.

''As councillors we need submissions to consider changes to what's proposed.

''We can't legally introduce another idea. It has to come through the submission process.

''If somebody comes up with a good plan, we'd be fools to ignore it.''

But Arrowtown resident Greg Fawcett said he disapproved of the anonymity of the leaflet.

It also suggested that residents had to choose either higher-density urban infill or the extension of the township's boundary.

''This is a great example of what is called a false dichotomy - a proponent of an unpopular option stands it against an even more unpleasant option, hoping people will side with them, when in fact, you can choose neither.''

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