Controversial: Coherent Hotel Ltd's proposed Aspen Grove hotel

A Queenstown ratepayer’s upset a hotel developer’s going through the resource consent process without apparently satisfying council concerns.

Coherent Hotel Ltd applied before Christmas for an eight-storey, 89-room hotel at Queenstown’s Aspen Grove, below the Kamana Lakehouse hotel, which it also owns.

Of 50 submitters, 49 objected, including Sydney-based Garry Brown, whose holiday home’s beside the proposed hotel.

Brown believes Queenstown’s council shouldn’t have let Coherent notify its proposal as it hadn’t answered 34 of its questions – some querying its ability to tap into the resort’s water and sewerage infrastructure.

“The applicant has not told the council to date they will easily get enough water to the property,” he says.

In an email to the mayor and councillors, Brown alleges: “The application currently has no credibility based on the lack of such basic services and infrastructure.”

In reply, council planning and development boss Tony Avery tells Brown it “could not stop notification of the application under New Zealand planning law” – specifically the Resource Management Act (RMA).

“The concerns you raise in your email are very valid …”, Avery writes.

The council didn’t have the legal ability under the RMA to insist it got the information it had asked for, before Coherent’s application was advertised.

“I appreciate it is more difficult for the community to make a robust submission when there is still a lot of information missing.

“This is a risk for the applicant …”

However, Avery advises Brown to make his views known in his submission and assures him the applicant “will have to provide answers to all your questions and any other information gaps for the hearing process”.

Brown responds: “Someone needs to tell the NZ government to get off the developers’ side and give councils more power to stop applications or make them more substantial before they go to public notification”.

Asked to comment on Brown’s concerns, Coherent’s project manager, Richard Hiles-Smith, replies: “In terms of the water supply, stormwater and sewerage, these were all largely resolved with council before submitting the application.

“This is because the engineers’ first step was to liaise with council’s infrastructure team to confirm capacities were sufficient.”