Neighbours oppose amusement complex

The owners of rural land near Wanaka Airport are not amused at the prospect of having a bumper-boat and karting facility near their properties.

However, the family trust behind a proposed amusement park on the intersection of State Highway 6 and Mt Barker Rd contend the development is appropriate for the rural area given other pre-existing recreational facilities.

The trust, associated with former Invercargill-based businessman Ross Young, his wife Judith, and their son Eamon, wants to build a complex featuring outside facilities for kart racing and bumper-boats alongside an indoor tenpin bowling alley with bar and cafe facilities.

Tentatively labelled "Ricochet Amusements" the park would be located directly across Mt Barker Rd from the Have-a-Shot novelty attraction, which features a variety of shooting ranges, a golf driving range and a mini-golf course.

Across SH6 from the site is Wanaka Airport, a facility which is earmarked for more commercial development and already has a toy and transport museum, a fighter pilots museum and tourism attractions such as scenic flights and skydiving.

A group of neighbouring landowners say the amusement park will be too noisy and will also detract from their views across open farmland.

Several opponents of the Ricochet proposal appeared before Queenstown Lakes commissioners David Collins and Sally Middleton at a resource consent hearing in Wanaka yesterday to call for the potential development to be shot down.

Mt Barker Rd residents Anke and Ulirich Staufenberg said the commercial operation would be too "visually prominent", would have adverse affects on the "rural amenity" of the area, and the amusement park would create a precedent for further development on the western side of SH6.

The Ricochet proposal would "substantially change the natural and pastoral character" and increase noise, traffic, and commercial activity sprawl .

Dave Bolger, a planning consultant representing Rising Star Ltd - a company run by Wanaka farmers Owen and Eric Hopgood - was one of several opposing witnesses who asked the commissioners to decline the proposal.

The proposed commercial development was at odds with the characteristics of the rural general zone, regardless of the existing similar activities, he said.

The proposal had no unique or exceptional characteristics and approving it would send a signal substantial commercial activities were acceptable in rural areas.

"There is a potential nuisance effect of buzzing bumper boats and go-karts, along with the associated people noise," Mr Bolger told the hearing.

The Youngs' planning consultant, Dan Curley, said the Ricochet proposal was being stigmatised because it did not have roots in a farming background.

The commissioners adjourned the matter to consider further opposing evidence regarding potential noise effects from a Christchurch-based engineer, who was prevented from appearing at the hearing by the Christchurch earthquake.


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