Fears “another Queenstown” will be built along Ladies Mile have been sparked by council concept plans revealed at a secret meeting on Monday.
What has been the rural, tree-lined entrance to Queenstown is already being transformed, as diggers carve up the south side of the state highway for the $500 million Queenstown Country Club retirement complex.
At Monday night’s invite-only meeting, local council planning boss Tony Avery, with lieutenant Blair Devlin, showed landowners and residents drawings of multi-storeyed, densely-packed buildings on the north side of Ladies Mile.
Attendees were told not to share the plans and the council refuses to release them to Mountain Scene
But shocked land owner Keri Lemaire-Sicre, who has lived at Ladies Mile Pet Lodge for 17 years, is speaking out, saying the planned density is similar to the downtown area.
“It’s going to be another Queenstown out here.”
OPENING SHOT: This carve-up’s going a mile too far
Avery says they are initial concept plans and landowners need to be consulted before the public. He adds: “We’re not trying to hide anything.”
Avery says the council is trying to be “a bit more proactive” about future growth options.
“This was an initial meeting with landowners, it’s not the end point.”
A year ago, Queenstown council staff were ordered to “master plan” urban development on Ladies Mile.
Avery confirms Monday’s meeting was about the master plan – but won’t confirm details.
Queenstown’s struggling with high house prices and calls for more affordable worker accommodation.
But it’s also under pressure from the government to increase the supply of houses, under a national policy statement passed last October.
Lemaire-Sicre worries the fast-track special housing area process – used for the retirement village across the road – might be used to boot her from her land.
She describes it as “housing at any cost”.
“I think everybody in the town needs to know that process is going to make the town an absolute ramble of homes and infrastructure that doesn’t fit.”
She says the council concept plans had a commercial area stretched back to Slope Hill “servicing a few thousand people” plonked right on top of land Lemaire-Sicre’s pet lodge currently occupies.
Queenstown Country Lodge boss Fiona Shearer, who was also at the meeting, says Ladies Mile is the wrong place for dense development.
“I think it’s just going to make the whole entrance to Queenstown look quite built-up and ugly.”
Arborist David Finlin, who’s lived on Ladies Mile for three years, is keeping mum. He says the council asked meeting attendees to keep opinions to themselves until another meeting was held with those on the south side of the highway.
Shotover Country developer Grant Stalker, whose proposed 207-section Glenpanel subdivision was knocked back by the council as a special housing area last year, couldn’t be reached on Wednesday.
Ladies Mile owners expect those plans to be dusted off – although Avery says no new SHA application has been made.
Avery didn’t know when his Ladies Mile report will go to councillors.
“There will be a full public discussion about it when it’s ready to come back to the council with a report that outlines the issues and the full options.”
The council is expected to call a meeting with landowners on the south side of Ladies Mile in the coming days.