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Bunnings New Zealand general manager Jacqui Coombes said the company had lodged a development application for a Bunnings Warehouse, which would offer "the widest range of home improvements and outdoor living products".
The store would front State Highway 6 on a site now occupied by Shotover Garden Centre, Erik’s Fish & Chips food truck and a house.
Bunnings Ltd’s application said its planned 8119sq m store would be divided into a main warehouse building, timber trade sales area, outdoor nursery and a building materials and landscape yard, along with 134 car parks.
The only other store in Queenstown of a similar size is Mitre 10 Mega, about 150m from the Bunnings site, which is 8000sq m. That opened 18 months ago.Bunnings Ltd appears to be trying to reduce the store’s visibility from the highway, with a 1m-high earth embankment along the front of the site, planted with specimen trees and ground cover.
Directly behind that would be the landscaped car park and a "lower-height" outdoor nursery.
While three Bunnings signs would be visible, "no more than two will be able to be viewed at a time".
They would also be set back about 40m.
Warehouses that size often employed 50 to 60 part- and full-time staff, the application said.
Bunnings would also help develop the construction sector "and will contribute to lowering the costs of construction, which in turn will assist in delivering more affordable housing, among other projects".
The Queenstown Lakes District Council had "raised concerns" about the company occupying industrially zoned land.
Its planner, however, quoted a report that "categorises [Bunnings] as, in many ways, akin to an industrial activity".
The company was also consulting with the NZ Transport Agency.
If approved, it would be the South Island’s sixth Bunnings Warehouse. The nearest to the resort is in Dunedin.
- Philip Chandler