QLDC due process questioned

File photo: ODT
File photo: ODT
A representative of a Queenstown developer has accused Queenstown Lakes District Council staff of withholding information from elected members.

Speaking to the audit, finance and risk committee during Thursday’s public forum, Remarkables Park Ltd’s (RPL) development general manager Brian Fitzpatrick was critical of council staff for not providing the company’s submission, or a summary of it, on the draft climate and biodiversity plan to decision-makers.

Mr Fitzpatrick said one of the actions generated by the initial climate action plan was to develop an "organisational travel plan" for the council and make changes in the way council staff worked to minimise road and air travel.

A workplace travel plan was formulated by staff in 2021, but that was prepared "solely on the premise" new council offices would be constructed on Queenstown’s Stanley St site within the next three to five years.

"It did not even allow for the possibility that other sites, e.g. at Frankton, might be closer to where staff and customers lived and would therefore generate fewer negative transport and climate effects."

RPL’s later submission on the draft climate and biodiversity plan reviewed the travel plan to include an assessment of transport impacts if an "alternative, more central location" for the proposed new council office building was chosen.

However, that submission was not mentioned, nor referred to, in the report to council when the plan was adopted, and Mr Fitzpatrick believed it was not referred to in a summary provided to the climate reference group.

"If our submission had been summarised and was able to be considered by the council, or the climate reference group, then I would accept their decision.

"But councillors can’t make the right decision if they are not presented with the right information, or if information is withheld."

Mr Fitzpatrick said he had tried to understand why RPL’s submission was not summarised or provided to decision-makers, but "staff have proven largely unwilling to engage with me".