Village plans shot

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One of Queenstown’s biggest developers has called time on plans for a retirement village.

Shotover Country, wedged between Lake Hayes Estate and the Shotover River, has applied for consent to build 61 new homes on a site once earmarked for an oldies facility.

Developer Sharyn Stalker says the decision is a no-brainer due to demand.

“It has been going on for a long time.

“In the meantime there has been a lot of people wanting to build retirement villages in the area.

“We just thought it would be better if we let them keep going with it.”

When she and husband Grant first mooted the need for elderly accommodation they were the only players. In March last year the Stalkers said their preferred retirement village operator pulled out over health problems and they were looking for another.

Meanwhile other village proposals have sprung up around them.

Queenstown Country Club is planned along Ladies Mile while a $130 million retirement complex has been approved near Arrowtown, beside The Hills golf course.

Shotover Country’s changed plans, formally submitted to council in October, are bundled with some disappointment.

Sharyn Stalker knows those who wanted to be part of the Shotover community will be upset.

“Sadly for us we are changing,” she says.

“But the obvious option for us is to put it into residential sections when we have so many buyers.

“We always had the option of putting medium-density [houses] on our retirement village land. That is where we are at at the moment.”

Plans for the development, just off Risinghurst Terrace, show section sizes range from 450 square metres to 545sq m, if approved.

Stalker says they have a few hurdles to overcome but hope to make the new sections available to people on their waiting list in February.

In June, Housing Minister Nick Smith gave government approval for four new special housing areas, including one at Shotover Country with the potential for 96 homes.

Initial plans for Shotover Country were for 800 houses – but the two extra areas would push that closer to 1000.

Once those are done that could complete the jigsaw for the Stalkers.

It has been challenging and risky but rewarding project, Sharyn Stalker says.

Asked what they will do next, she says they hope to take life a bit easier.

Hubby Grant chuckles at the prospect of starting to “semi-retire”.

Housing in and around Shotover Country has continued to grow in recent years.

Lake Hayes Estate, started in the early 2000s, has almost 600 homes, while Bridesdale Farm will include 134 houses once complete.

The first sections at Shotover Country launched in 2012 and with a $200,000 price-tag were pitched at giving young Kiwis a crack at buying in Queenstown.

Shotover’s switch from a village to houses is a boost for a town crying out for affordable accommodation.

In August, first-time buyers were left heartbroken when developer Gerry Oudhoff pulled the pin on Bowen Street Cottages, a proposed 32-home development just off Gorge Road.

He blamed council delays.

louises@scene.co.nz