Airport opposes ‘intensive’ worker accommodation complex

A major workers’ accommodation complex proposed to alleviate some of Queenstown’s rental issues has hit a planning snag, after the airport company and other community groups opposed it.

The government approved fast-track consenting for Australian-based No.1 Hansen Road Ltd in November last year, for plans to build a 554-unit complex in Frankton to address desperate rental shortages in the Queenstown Lakes District.

The company has said the project could meet more than 10% of the expected increase in rental accommodation demand over the next 10 years and reduce pressure on the housing crisis.

But the company has met opposition from several consulted groups, among them Queenstown Airport Company (QAC).

QAC’s submission expressed concern the proposed accommodation was too close to the airport’s operations, and could affect its activities.

"QAC acknowledges the need for a range of appropriate housing solutions in the Queenstown Lakes District and acknowledges that the provision of workers accommodation is important to resolving some of the district’s housing issues.

"However, QAC does not consider that this particular site is appropriate for the intensive residential activity proposed given the strategic importance of the Queenstown Airport to the Queenstown Lakes District, and adverse effects on future occupants."

The proposed complex in Frankton would also go against the present planning regulations for the area, the company said.

"Future residents will experience adverse effects from airport noise."

The proposed site was about 550m from the centre line of Queenstown Airport’s main runway, and 560m from the northern end of the crosswind runway.

Other concerns included disturbance of the area from the actual building activity near the airport’s operations.

Frankton Community Association also opposed the project.

Concerns included the height of the proposed buildings, and that "any height or zoning breaches will set the standard for future developments".

"Any of the higher buildings would be better suited closer to the building behind it so that it reduces the impact."

Bruce Grant, of boutique shopping company Country Lane Queenstown Ltd, expressed concerns about the lack of parking nearby.

"After reading the proposal and their dream of creating a car-less environment, it is clear to me they are hoping for the best with no plan for what is most likely going to happen," he said.

"The car-share scheme is untested in the Queenstown environment and therefore hopeful at best to succeed."

Mr Grant said the proposed "saturation" of the site might create major adverse effects on the Frankton area.

"The site is zoned for 50 residential units and the proposal is for more than 10-fold this number (554)."

NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi spokeswoman Jenni Fitzgerald said in order for the proposal to go ahead, there would need to be changes to the roading layout.

A panel will make its decision about the proposal before May 7.