Resource consent approved for massive Wanaka film studio development

The impact on Wanaka’s housing market of a multimillion-dollar film studio will be considered as...
The multimillion-dollar Silverlight film studio has been approved for resource consent. IMAGE: SUPPLIED
Resource consent has been approved for the $280 million Silverlight Studios film studio development near Wanaka.

An independent fast-track consenting panel issued its decision today, 96 days after Silverlight Studios Limited applied for consent under the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020. The complex will include a film school, screening theatre, exhibition centre, and up to 10 sound stages.

The panel has imposed conditions on building size, noise, traffic, and light.

The panel is considering a separate application to provide on-site accommodation for cast and crew.

That decision is due in the new year.

The Silverlight Studios team of Weta Digital veteran Mike Wallis, double Oscar nominee Ra Vincent (The Hobbit and Jo Jo Rabbit) and film accountant Jonathan Harding was given approval by the Government to apply for a fast-tracked consent application under special Covid-19 legislation earlier this year.

The company’s $280 million development plans for the site just 3.5km from the edge of Wanaka.

Construction of the film park could create 6000 jobs across New Zealand, including 4000 in the Queenstown Lakes district, beginning next year, the application documents said in August.

An economic impact assessment included in the documents said over the first 11-year period Silverlight Studios could add about $1.7 billion to New Zealand’s economy, including $969 million in the Queenstown Lakes area alone.

Site preparation and bulk earthworks could begin next year.

An 11ha lake at the centre of the site would be developed in 2023, as would an Italian and a seaside village.

Construction of the Paris replica would begin in 2024.

That of New York would follow in 2025 and the Venice replica would conclude the construction project in 2026.

The film park would include film sets, post-production facilities, a film school, a screening theatre, a film exhibition centre - and supporting facilities, including cafes, restaurants, tourism, hospitality and conference facilities, and specialist film-related retail outlets.

The sound stages would be supported by production offices within the Italian village.

A medieval village and hall and the lakeside village would be used as part of the tourism component.

On-site accommodation would allow Silverlight Studios to operate as its own self-contained ‘‘bubble’’ if required, the application says.

The buildings in the sound stage would reach 17m, the skylines of Venice, Paris and New York City would be 14m tall.

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