Project approved despite concerns

An aerial image of the Waterfall Park development. Image: Supplied
An aerial image of the Waterfall Park development. Image: Supplied
A major Queenstown development has been approved , despite concerns about its impact on the environment.

Waterfall Park, a hotel and wellness centre, has been granted resource consent by the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

The development, which includes a conference centre, will be located alongside Mill Creek, between Arrowtown and Lake Hayes.

Winton Queenstown general manager Lauren Christie said the company was looking forward to progressing with the next stages of design and planning, including final discussions with potential hotel operators.

Kathleen O'Sullivan
Kathleen O'Sullivan

In conjunction with the proposed new access road through neighbouring Ayrburn Farm, the riparian margins of Mill Creek will be restored along a 1.3km stretch with native shrubs and grasses.

The development was opposed by residents and the Friends of Lake Hayes Society, which argued it could negatively affect water quality in the bodies of water.

Society member Kathleen O'Sullivan told commissioners at the development's January resource consent hearing ''it's a bit of a farce'' to suggest with any certainty the development would not lead to a breach of water quality standards as there was no strong scientific evidence to support that.

Queenstown architect John Blair, who lives near the site, said it was a ''disruptive and inappropriate proposal'', claiming it would cause increased traffic and a loss of visual amenity.

Following the decision, Friends of Lake Hayes Society secretary Richard Bowman said they were considering their options.

One option would be to appeal the decision, but he was ''certainly not convinced'' that was the best course of action.

Commissioners cited three main reasons for granting approval - it was designed to ensure no significant landscape effects, the plan to restore and re-use Ayrburn Farm heritage buildings, and steps proposed to mitigate adverse effects during construction.

Comments

Any development anywhere will result in increased traffic and, in some way, lower visual amenity. How any such objection could be considered is beyond me. It appears to me that the architect only wants the development of his house (which resulted in increased traffic and lowered visual amenity for his neighbours) but not for anyone else.

Lets face it, the friends of Lake Hayes are no different from the many "community" groups in central Otago these days. Their real interest is self interest. just anti development and strenuously opposing anything that brings more people to "their" back yard.