Luxury spa opposed by neighbours

A health spa resort complex could be built at Queensberry, between Wanaka and Cromwell, providing the Central Otago District Council grants resource consent.

Dunedin couple Catherine Mann and Michael Hodge have applied to the council for land use consent to build a luxury complex comprising hot pools, private pools, a therapy pool and accommodation nestled among natural rock formations and native kanuka.

However, it seems local people have mixed views of the proposal. Since it was publicly notified, the council has received 10 submissions, eight opposed to the project, one in support and one neutral.

Recently, Queensberry residents held a meeting to discuss the proposal.

Simon Betney, who lives in the Queensberry Hills subdivision near the site of the proposed complex, said locals believed the complex would negatively impact on them. The noise, light pollution and increased traffic that would occur as a result of the complex would detract from their lifestyles.

However, he also said the couple had a "great idea" and it was "a tricky thing, because nobody wants to stamp on people's ideas and dreams".

Ms Mann said her and her partner were hurt by the meeting, as some residents had initially supported the proposal.

They had offered to talk to residents but were told locals would rather hold the meeting without them. After the meeting they offered to talk to them again but the residents declined.

Their resource consent application states the idea is not to create a "water park for children, rather a health and relaxation spa for adults" and the couple have identified their target market as skiers, snowboarders, tourists and locals.

"People come to New Zealand because they want to see our scenery and landscape . . . the land we have [in Queensberry] has beautiful rocks and kanuka," Ms Mann said.

"The aesthetic values are part of what we are trying to promote. We want to work with the area.

"It's a place where we want people to relax."

The proposed accommodation would have the capacity to house 18 guests in a cabin complex and a further 12 in a self-contained apartment complex.

Submissions on the proposal close at 4pm on Tuesday.



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