Lakeside resort finally gets go-ahead

The property was approved for sale with the OIO satisfied Roberts would reside in New Zealand....
The property, pictured in 2017. Photo: Supplied
The latest version of a proposed lakeside resort near Queenstown first mooted more than 20 years ago has been given the thumbs-up by the Environment Court.

The decision effectively approves a revamped master plan and upgraded marina for the 37ha property, which sits at the foot of Walter Peak about 17km across Lake Wakatipu from the resort town.

Owned by Australian billionaire Tim Roberts since 2018, the site is bordered by RealNZ’s Walter Peak tourist operation — to which TSS Earnslaw ferries visitors — and high-country farm Walter Peak Station.

Mr Roberts filed an appeal in the court last May after a Queenstown Lakes District Council planning commissioner declined the two consent applications making up the proposal.

In his decision, Judge John Hassan said subsequent discussions between the parties resulted in an agreement the consents be granted subject to conditions.

A previous owner of the land was granted consent in 2001 for a lodge and villas containing 33 visitor accommodation units, 10 other dwellings, a swimming pool, tennis court and outbuildings.

After appeals, the Environment Court approved a watered-down, 10-lot subdivision in 2005 consisting of the lodge and villa complex and eight dwellings on freehold sections.

However, the development never proceeded and the land is still grazed, although extensive native planting required as part of the subdivision has flourished.

The application said since Mr Roberts had bought the property, "considerable time, effort and cost" had been put into reviewing the existing consents, which were due to expire in December.

He had worked with the council to address its concerns, and made revisions aimed at improving the site’s landscape and environmental outcomes.

Access to the site was difficult because it took over five hours to drive there from Queenstown via Mavora Lakes Rd.

There was no jetty, and the existing boat marina was unusable because its poor design had allowed a build-up of gravel across the entrance.

The marina upgrade was necessary for boat and taxi access for owners, visitors, staff and contractors, the application said.

The revised consents would allow the consolidation of 14 building areas making up the lodge and villa complex into four larger areas.

One would contain an amenity building near the marina that would serve as the "gateway" for the resort.

Mr Roberts declined a request for comment.