By PHILIP CHANDLER
Battle lines are being drawn again over a developer’s plans for ‘outstanding natural landscape’ (ONL) at Queenstown’s Arthurs Point, above the Shotover River.
Developer Gertrude’s Saddlery wants to rezone about six hectares of land, at Atley Road’s southern end, from ‘rural’ to ‘low density residential’.
Queenstown’s council originally allowed the rezoning, but the specially-formed Arthurs
Point Outstanding Natural Landscape Society (APONLS) appealed it to the Environment
It argued the council didn’t correctly notify the developer’s application — and that of an
other developer, Larchmont Developments.
The Environment Court sided with the society.
Through the High Court, and then the Appeal Court, the council and developers then tried, unsuccessfully, to overturn that decision.
As a result, council’s now renotified the original rezoning submissions, and invited further submissions, closing next Thursday.
APONLS chairman Tom Dery says his group still opposes the rezoning.
‘‘That’s crazy, that is an outstanding natural landscape — so you’re going to throw out an ONL so you can put some houses on it, in one of the most scenic spots in New Zealand?
‘‘I get overseas people come into our house [across the river] and they see that view and that location and they just say, ‘this is the most amazing thing we’ve ever seen’.
‘‘You can’t build properly on that mountain, we’ll have to go to court to demonstrate that.’’
APONLS member Matt Semple says ‘‘we’re thrilled we’re finally able to get a say’’.
‘‘We’ve been fighting all along [for this], and our council has been trying to cut us out.’’
He believes there’s ‘‘quite a high sensitivity’’ in Arthurs Point towards ‘‘inappropriate development’’ in ONL areas.
‘‘The land [Gertrude’s Saddlery] wants to redevelop, there aren’t too many places in NZ that are so iconic they’ve had stamps made of them, there’s been paintings and photographs.
‘‘It’s a highly sort of aesthetic area that’s been appreciated for years and years.’’
Gertrude’s Saddlery director Andrew Fairfax says council zoning processes aren’t the same as a resource consent process — ‘‘we haven’t applied for a resource consent to build one house, let alone a subdivision’’.
‘‘We’ve made zero decisions on what to do with the land.’’
Fairfax says ‘‘we’ve started the first draft of a masterplan for the land, and we invite community input at 111atleyroad.co.nz’’.
He adds council decided the ‘rural’ part of his land isn’t part of the ONL, ‘‘after listening to independent expert evidence’’ at the original zoning hearing in 2018.