Safety concerns around Kingston project

Kent St in Kingston.
Kent St in Kingston. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Kingston community leaders fear a decision to grant resource consent to a development there could "risk lives" because of increased construction traffic.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council has given Kingston Village Ltd approval to build 217 houses — and provision includes access off Kent and Oxford Sts.

Kingston Community Association chairman Athol Elliott said the group would contest the decision and was seeking legal advice.

Mr Elliott said it was important to stress his concerns did not relate to "growth or development" but to safety concerns around the proposed access.

Residents were originally told the developer planned an access road off State Highway 6, something they supported.

Mr Elliott said the new route, now approved by the QLDC, was where children lined up for the school bus. It was the main route out of town, and the main access point for emergency services and the library.

"It will be dangerous and we have legitimate safety concerns."

Kingston Fire and Emergency New Zealand deputy controller Peter Ottley agreed.

He pointed to a history of accidents on the road and questioned the decision to encourage more vehicles on it.

Mr Ottley said the consent document suggested up to 70-80 additional "traffic movements" daily.

"There are regular near-misses already, weekly.

"It is an accident or death waiting to happen in that area. It is a horrendous bit of road and ... corner. If it stays the way it is, there will be something pretty horrendous happen."

Fenz would be writing to the council to highlight its concerns, he said.

Mr Elliott said his email correspondence with the resource consent team had been confusing and the group had been given conflicting reports.

One noted a condition of consent was a communication plan with the developer.

"This was a key condition I wanted imposed on the consent."

The email from Fiona Blight from the planning and development team went on to say the council had "no power to force KVL to use an access from the state highway, particularly as they have no legal access that joins the state highway currently".

"I appreciate that for Kingston this is a large development. However, resource consent wise we are not able to restrict construction vehicles from using Kent St, because the site is zoned for development and has legal access from Oxford and Huntingdon Sts.

"The construction works proposed are not of such a large scale that it is beyond what is typical and expected for residential development where this is zoned for, and the subdivision is not dissimilar in scale from other subdivision development occurring elsewhere around our district, and therefore it would be difficult for council in its regulatory role to notify this application because of construction traffic using roads within Kingston Village."

Queenstown Lakes District Council chief engineer Ulrich Glasner confirmed he had spoken to Mr Elliott about his concerns,

A meeting to discuss those will be held next Tuesday, and Mr Glasner, planners and project managers will attend.

"I can answer some [concerns] but with others I need to follow up with the team at council. This is currently under way and we will provide a proper update to the community on Tuesday night."

He understood resource consent was granted last Monday.

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