Ding-dong over new

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Prominent landowners opposing a Catholic school in Speargrass Flat say they don’t want an “imported community” to emerge in their neighbourhood. 

In an Environment Court battle last week over a second campus for St Joseph’s School, appellants argued the introduction of the school doesn’t fit with the nature of the area – a rural residential zone. Bishop Colin Campbell of the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin has consent to build a 112-pupil school on a 2.6 hectare site on Speargrass Flat Road, to help ease pressure at the Queenstown campus, which has a roll cap of 175. Only two classrooms would be built first, accommodating 60 kids. 

High-profile neighbours like Queenstown Lakes District Council senior policy analyst Scott Figenshow, his partner and Lakes District Hospital boss Norman Gray, Queenstown Lakes District Council planning commissioner Jane Taylor and her husband, Queenstown Airport Corporation board chair Mark Taylor, are amongst several who appealed to the court. 

They’re worried about the size of earthworks, plus increased noise, traffic and numbers of people having a negative impact on the area. 

Appearing before Judge Melanie Harland and commissioners Heather McConachy and Marlene Oliver, appellant James Hadley says he objects to the “institutional nature” of the activity. 

The Diocese argues that because the land has a visitor accommodation sub-zone “overlay”, changes to the land – bringing increased numbers of people – is inevitable. 

The hearing has been adjourned till next month.