Opposition to hotel gone, hearing told

An artist's impression of the 162-room hotel proposed for Queenstown's Thompson St by developer Well Smart Investment Holding. Image: Patch Ltd
An artist's impression of the 162-room hotel proposed for Queenstown's Thompson St by developer Well Smart Investment Holding. Image: Patch Ltd
Neighbours' opposition to a hotel proposed for central Queenstown has dissolved, a public hearing was told yesterday.

Singapore-based hotel developer Well Smart Investment Holding wants to build a 162-room five-star hotel in Thompson St.

It lodged resource consent applications last year to build the seven-storey hotel and carry out preparatory earthworks.

At a resource consent hearing in the resort yesterday, Well Smart's lawyer, James Gardner-Hopkins, told independent commissioners Jan Caunter and Lee Beattie there was ''no longer opposition or concern'' from the only two submitters.

Event Hotels (NZ), which owns the QT Queenstown and Rydges Lakeland Resort hotels opposite the site, was not represented at yesterday's hearing.

Its submission opposes the development on the grounds of ''loss of amenity and character'', visual effects, noise, vibration, traffic, access and other effects from earthworks, and potential for land subsidence and damage to its property.

Mr Gardner-Hopkins said Event Hotels had not withdrawn the submission, but had ''narrowed its issues'' through discussions with the applicant and the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

It had accepted a revised set of conditions for both applications.

The owner-occupiers of 7 Glasgow St had opposed the applications, but withdrew their submission and gave their approval last month.

Although notified separately, the earthworks and hotel applications are being heard together, and the commissioners have indicated they want to give one decision covering both.

Well Smart wants them to give separate decisions.

Mr Gardner-Hopkins said Well Smart wanted to begin earthworks as soon as consent was granted.

If construction of the hotel did not proceed immediately upon the earthworks' completion, the site would be an improvement on its current state and would be available for temporary activities such as car parking.

Separate decisions would also allow earthworks to get under way even if Well Smart decided to appeal conditions imposed by the council on the hotel consent.

Although it could apply under the Resource Management Act to start parts of the development not under appeal, that would introduce ''uncertainty and potential further delays'', he said.

However, Ms Caunter said nobody wanted to see a ''hole in the ground'' for years, such as on Frankton's Five Mile site following the GFC.

Queenstown was probably the first place in New Zealand to ''stop dead'' after a financial crisis, she said.

 

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