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Parking looms as a potential judder bar for a 227-room hotel planned for central Queenstown.

As exclusively revealed by Mountain Scene in March, Australian developer Pro-invest Group wants to spend $60 million-plus on a Holiday Inn Express hotel bordering Stanley, Sydney and Melbourne Streets.

While it would relieve a shortage of visitor accom-modation, questions are being asked about traffic, parking and where hotel workers will park.

Scene’s search of council records shows traffic planners acting for the developer and Queenstown’s council are at loggerheads over how many carparks should be supplied.

Under the district plan, the hotel should provide 54 visitor parks, 15 staff spaces and five coach parks.

The developer’s initial transport plan, penned by firm Traffic Design Group (TDG), shows a shortfall of 21 spaces – nine for staff, 10 visitor parks and two for coaches.

There are also issues with the dimensions of parking spaces and the loss of 12 parks along Sydney St – which will give way for the coach pick-up and drop-off area.

TDG’s report concludes there will only be “occasional” overflow parking demands and an increase in traffic and parking demands is acceptable.

A review for the council by consulting firm MWH rips into TDG’s assumptions, saying it considers parking will “regularly” exceed capacity, considering the high occupancy of Queenstown’s hotels and an increase in self-drive tourists.

Because a proposed basement carpark breaches council rules multiple times, MWH says “we do not consider the current parking layout acceptable”.

It raises concerns about staff and construction worker parking.

TDG retorts only seven staff will be on-site at one time – and the hotel will have six staff accommodation rooms.

The housekeeping contractor will bring in staff by minivan.

Builder Naylor Love Construction will also ferry workers to the site by minibus.

It’s “unlikely” more than three coaches would park there overnight, TDG’s reply says.

“While it would be desirable to provide more on-site parking spaces, the physical constraints of the site have prevented this and the existing available parking supply at the times when needed during the course of the days, i.e. generally overnight, are more than sufficient to meet these peak period demands.”

Just last week, MWH pushed back again.

It says TDG’s parking survey of an unnamed Christchurch hotel suggests the Queenstown hotel will need 125 spaces.

Another example thrown up by TDG was 50 parks at the 139-room Crowne Plaza Queenstown.

But MWH says once those figures are crunched it means the Holiday Inn should provide between 57 and 82 spaces.

MWH suggests TDG again review its parking demand figures and assumptions.

Concerns about the basement carpark widths remain. MWH says there’s not adequate room for manoeuvring in and out of spaces.

Highways manager NZ Transport Agency gives the development a conditional tick.

The council’s urban design reviewer Garth Falconer is impressed with what he calls a “creative and sensitive” proposal.

While it breaches rules for height, setbacks and bulk, Falconer says its well-considered design will mitigate any problems.

That doesn’t wash with neighbour Tara Hotop, however, who’s calling for the consent to be publicly notified. The council is yet to decide on notification.

Hotop picks out its 14.54m height, “wall-like appear-ance” and breach of controls in place to protect the neighbourhood’s “residential character and amenity”.

Pro-invest Developments head honcho Tim Sherlock, of Sydney, says the company is considering MWH’s comments.

“We are actively working through the matters raised with the council and we will be supplying additional information in due course.”

Pro-invest tells the council the four-star Holiday Inn Express Queenstown will have an operating budget of about $5m a year and will be able to accommodate up to 450 people a night.

david@scene.co.nz