Road funding plan 'double-dipping'

Two major Queenstown landowners have blasted the local council for hatching a road funding plan which would cost them millions of dollars.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council wants to change its development contributions policy so future developments will pay almost all the council contribution towards building the $22million eastern access road.

The justification for the change is that the owners of undeveloped land will get the greatest benefit from the road, now known as Hawthorne Dr.

However, existing landowners who have already developed land will pay nothing.

Auckland developer Queenstown Central Limited has plans for a $100million town centre, including a Kmart department store, next to the Five Mile shopping centre.

Its submission, penned by Barker & Associates planner Gerard Thompson, dubbed the council’s policy "unreasonable and inequitable".

The policy, as proposed, did not recognise existing developments, he said, and therefore lumped a disproportionate share of costs on the owners of undeveloped land.

Remarkables Park Ltd (RPL), the developer of the Remarkables Park shopping centre which owns about 100ha  of land at Frankton, accuses the council of double-dipping.

The company says it has previously taken contributions from developers which should have been used to build the road.

It also says the council’s traffic modelling is "flawed".

In a submission to the council, which will be the subject of a meeting in Queenstown today, the company said the policy contradicts an agreement with the council in 2014.

The agreement said the council would bring forward $12.6million for the design and construction of the road, and endeavour to have it completed by May 2015.

Brookfields lawyer John Young, who wrote the submission, said it was clear from the agreement the council would pay for the road.

"Very little roading development has been undertaken by the council within the Frankton Flats.

"The policy seeks to impose an additional levy on RPL in respect of infrastructure for which it has already contributed.

"Double-dipping arises."

Council-commissioned transport projections show only 8% of vehicles using the road by 2045 will be passing straight through — meaning the other 92% will use the road to access houses and businesses.

Mr Young described the council’s traffic modelling as "flawed" and, therefore, it had inappropriately apportioned most of the road-building cost to future development.

He asked the council to exclude Remarkables Park and associated company Shotover Park Ltd from the policy and suggested the council took a loan to cover its $6.7million contribution — plus $2.2million in interest.

Meanwhile the Queenstown Airport Corporation, which is majority-owned by the council, is not being slugged by the policy despite being a significant Frankton landowner.

The corporation’s property general manager, Rachel Tregidga, said in her submission the approach was consistent with its view the airport "facilitates rather than generates the demand for the council’s services".

She said an area of land southeast of its crosswind runway, which is not publicly accessible, should be excluded from the policy.

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