Visitor lodgings 'at heart'

A new alpine village planned for the Cardrona Valley will have a strong visitor accommodation element which will feed a residential heart, the man behind the plan says.

The proposed changes to the Mt Cardrona Special Zone could mean up to 640 residential sections, a four-star hotel and a 12-hole ''links''-style golf course being developed on about 18ha of land about 2km north of the Cardrona village.

Mt Cardrona Station is owned by Auckland-based property developer and investor Chris Morton.

Plan change 52, as it is known, will make changes to the Mt Cardrona Station Special Zone (MCSSZ) which was approved by the Environment Court in 2011, after an almost three-year process.

A hearing on the plan change was held in Wanaka yesterday, with commissioners Ross McRobie, Jan Caunter and Rachel Dimery hearing evidence.

Mr Morton said it was hard to say who exactly the village would cater to but it was likely the visitor accommodation element along with the golf course would be the factor which tied everything together.

''I see it as a village with a strong visitor accommodation element at its heart. Then you have the residential component feeding off that.''

Retirees, holiday-makers and workers could all be accommodated in the zone, Mr Morton said.

While the golf course and hotel would be the centre of the development, the village would still be different from resort-style villages such as Millbrook Resort near Arrowtown, he said.

Provisions for a gondola from an already consented vehicle base near the Cardrona skifield access road is also part of the plan change proposal.

As of now there were no plans for a gondola but it was always better to look ahead, Mr Morton said.

'If I had to place a bet on whether a gondola will be built there in the next 10 years I would do it but I can't say yes there will be a gondola and things change. But by having a provision for a gondola it gives us that option.''

The idea to add the golf course came after a chance encounter with former professional golfer and course designer Greg Turner.

It became apparent after talking to Mr Turner and others involved in the golf tourism industry there was a need for more world-class courses in the Queenstown Lakes region.

Mr Morton said he expected it would take about 10 years for the village to be fully developed but it was always hard to determine a timeline with lager developments.

At the hearing, Cardrona valley resident Ian Lesley, who lives near the zone's southern boundary, said he and his neighbours were concerned about the impact the development would have on the ''wonderfully peaceful and isolated area''.

Mr Lesley said it was clear to him the plan was now for a resort-style development
rather than a village which had been originally consented in 2011.

He wanted a provision added to the special zone which would stop any encroachment on to a buffer zone between properties on Gin and Raspberry Lane.

No submissions were made asking for the plan change to be dismissed entirely.

Both the Cardrona Residents and Ratepayers Association and the Cardrona Alpine Resort supported the plan.


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