Arthurs Point fury

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An advertising guru has blown the whistle on a planned subdivision in Queenstown’s Arthurs Point.

M&C Saatchi Australian boss and former worldwide chairman Tom Dery fears an 89-lot housing development overlooking the Shotover River will degrade an iconic landscape.

Dery, who has a luxury Arthurs Point holiday home, was responsible for Tourism New Zealand’s world-renowned ‘100% Pure NZ’ campaign.

He’s chairman of the Arthurs Point Outstanding Natural Landscape Society (APONLS) that’s been formed to try to stop the development.

“The pressure of development is making the protection and preser-vation of these iconic views more and more important,” he says.

“If this property development goes ahead, it will take one of the great tourism images sold to the world as ‘100% Pure’ and turn it into ‘50% Pure NZ, 50% suburb’.

“Somebody’s going to look back some time in the future and say, ‘how did this happen?”‘

Dery says the society – “we’ve got 25 [members], but about another 100 lined up” – believes the Atley Road development will also put further pressure on the district’s overburdened infrastruc-ture.

He notes that the Queenstown council recently authorised the development against its own expert advice.

The experts found it wasn’t suitable “on landscape and traffic grounds”.

Dery acknowledges the view from his Watties Track home, on the western bank of the Shotover River, will be particularly affected.

“But so are all the houses on Arthurs Point, on the hill, overlooking it.”

Motorists heading towards Edith Cavell Bridge, from downtown Queenstown, will also notice it, he says.

Asked to comment on the fact the development area is covered in noxious wilding pines, Dery says: “Whatever particular sort of fauna and flora is there, it enhances that whole view.

“It stays green during the summer and turns gold during the autumn, and is one of the most wonderful attractions in that particular area.”

APONLS member and Arthurs Point resident Matt Semple adds: “We were surprised to discover at the 11th hour that council has chosen to disagree with its experts and rezone an area of ‘outstanding natural landscape’.

“This will effectively destroy one of Queenstown’s iconic views which people around the world describe as ‘beyond picture-perfect’.

“In fact, this view is so iconic it has featured on a postage stamp [right].

“Council claims, in its proposed district plan, that it seeks to preserve iconic views from development, so why is it actively seeking to destroy them?”

APONLS, meanwhile, has asked to be a party to district plan review proceedings filed against the council by the Upper Clutha Environmental Society.

The appeal’s due to be discussed today by the council’s appeals subcommittee, behind closed doors.

The sole director of the development company, Gertrude’s Saddlery Ltd, is Queenstowner Andrew Fairfax, who couldn’t be contacted yesterday.

Fairfax founded local-based travel company Active Adventures, which he sold last year.

Gertrude’s Saddlery has applied for a resource consent for a helicopter landing pad but that the application, which attracted a number of objections from Arthurs Point residents, had been put on hold.

scoop@scene.co.nz