High Court challenge on the cards

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Frankton residents are mobilising at the eleventh hour against a 227-apartment development – which includes affordable housing.

Site works for the Remarkables Park Apartments started in April and construction is expected to be completed late next year.

Developer New Ground Capital was given the go-ahead by Queenstown’s council in December, granting resource consent on a ‘non-notified’ basis – which means there’s limited neighbourhood consultation.

Queenstown Lakes Community Housing Trust is buying 50 apartments in the development, off Cherry Blossom and Copper Beach Avenues behind Remarkables Park retail centre.

The trust helps local families into housing.

But almost 40 residents living near the site met last week to thrash out their concerns – including traffic congestion, limited parking and the height of the buildings.

They believe their only option now could be to launch a legal challenge through the High Court.

Copper Beech Ave resident Michele Fiebig said: “We want to make sure the council understands the situation here.

“There are a huge amount of issues that the local community have raised.

“The stress it’s going to put on these people is just a little bit unfair.

“Proceeding with a judicial review with the High Court can be an expensive exercise, but it isn’t something we’ve ruled out.”

About 600 people are expected to be accommodated on the one-hectare site.

An Elm Tree Ave resident, who asked not to be named, said they were not notified about the development.

She says: “One of my biggest issues is the damage that may be caused to our houses throughout the construction stage of the development, in particular compounding machinery cracking houses.

“It’s proposed to house 227 units. This will change the feel of the well-established residential area in Frankton.”

The three buildings included in the development will have between four and six levels, with several shared spaces and outdoor carparking.

Two of the buildings will be sold on and plans are in place for the third to be leased to employers to house workers.

NGC managing director Roy Thompson says the company has been “completely open about this affordable housing development through the planning stages” and it hasn’t received a “single query from the community” since plans were made public.

“We’ve worked hard to ensure the development is as sympathetic to the local neighbourhood as possible, noting it’s a large complex,” he said.

The housing trust is buying its 50 apartments in one of the non-leased buildings.

Its executive officer Julie Scott says the apartments represent a “new style of affordable housing in Queenstown”.

“Whilst we appreciate the neighbours may have some concerns, this is not entirely unexpected when a large apartment block goes up next to a residential area.

“However, we would hope they can work with the developer to mitigate issues where possible.”

joshua.walton@scene.co.nz