Backdown over luxury house-build


A wealthy Tauranga businessman is bowing to a council threat of enforcement over his $4 million lakefront house in Queenstown.

The local council last week ordered retirement village operator Fraser Sanderson - whose seven-bedroom home on Park Street is almost finished - to sort out “non-complying issues”.

He was told to immediately stop all work on council land, unless for safety reasons, and apply for a licence to occupy road reserves on Park and Hobart Streets.

He had to remove part of a steel retaining wall, narrow vehicle access, recontour the Park St road reserve and remove unconsented fill on the Hobart St road reserve, along with unconsented stone steps.

If he didn’t comply he’d face enforcement action, monitoring planner Elias Matthee told him last Friday.

Council spin doctor Michele Poole confirms that Sanderson’s told the council he will comply and it won’t issue a stop-work notice.

Sanderson, who’s developed eight North Island retirement villages, confirms he’ll stop work on council land and apply for a licence to occupy the road reserves till the job’s completed.

“There’s just some dirt on the property that shouldn’t be there.”

The temporary wall, retaining that dirt, would also be removed in the next few weeks, he says.

“It’s just a total storm in a teacup - it’s just work in progress.

“Everything will comply - I promise you that we won’t be doing anything illegal, even if it means moving a couple of stones up the top.”

The stones, he explains, were just to provide access from his property to Hobart St - ”otherwise my wife is going to have to walk through a bit of wet dirt and soggy grass”.

Sanderson says he understands the council’s just doing its job and complaints have come from neighbours.

Sanderson claims those neighbours “have been on at council, continuously, and probably been a little bit vexatious”.

He believes his house, on completion, will be a great asset to Queenstown and the street.

“We don’t want to upset our neighbours, we’re moving there for a peaceful, quiet existence.”

Building his holiday home has been difficult.

Construction has taken two years, he says: “We build resthomes and hospitals in half the time.”

He adds that they’ve spent more than $3m on construction and close to $1m on buying the land.