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Land suitable for industrial use was in "extremely short supply" in Queenstown and siting a Pak'nSave supermarket and a Mitre 10 Mega store on such land is not appropriate, the Queenstown Lakes District Council says.
The council has appealed both proposals and yesterday, during day three of the Environment Court hearing, said both applications were "non-complying activities" under the current district plan and its proposed plan.
Counsel for council Tony Ray said if the developments were to go ahead in the E1 area, which was designated for industrial and trade activities, such businesses would miss out as there was a shortage of land available for industrial use.
He cited a passage from the current district plan which said decisions regarding new business growth were often a reaction to development, and said "this highlighted the need for the district plan to encourage a proactive rather than reactive response to development".
The council accepted progress on the plan change was slow and Mr Ray said there were "a variety of reasons for that" but a decision was "imminent".
Earlier, Mr Ray said the plan change would "introduce a form of urban zoning" but at this point it was not certain what this would be and the change needed to "inform this development rather than the other way around".
On Tuesday, Mitre 10 Mega's counsel, Graeme Todd, said the time had "long passed" for Queenstown "to continue to be deprived of the benefits" of the store chain.
His submission echoed the argument for a Pak'nSave in saying that approval of either would not "pre-empt the outcome of Plan Change 19".
The zoning status of the proposed site is not agreed upon by Mr Todd and the Queenstown Lakes District Council, with the latter considering it a visual amenity landscape while Mr Todd lists it as other rural landscape.
With the site bordering an industrial zone, Mr Todd said his client's activity would not be in conflict.
"You do not see a Bunnings or a Mitre 10 Mega in a shopping mall."
He called planning consultant Carey Vivian as a witness.
He was questioned by counsel for Queenstown Central Ltd about whether the retail stores would be compliant with the zone rules.
"This council approves a lot of non-compliant activities," he said.