Double the doors and the scrutiny

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The resort-based national president of the Motel Association is at loggerheads with Queens­­-town Lakes District Council over a rival motel close to his own complex.

Peter Smith, who heads the national motel body,

is “stunned” at QLDC granting Autoline Motel a retrospective resource con­­­sent – allowing Autoline to potentially double its permitted number of units. Smith’s own Queenstown Motel Apartments are just around the corner.

Autoline was consented for 13 units before redevelopment last year but emerged from its makeover with the potential for 26 units – after fitting doors where windows were meant to go.

After complaints, QLDC regulator Lakes Environmental issued an abatement notice eight months ago.

But now the motel’s makeover is retrospectively approved, Smith’s concern is how LE can ensure Autoline limits itself to letting only 13 units as consented. “Who can prove or disprove they’re selling 26 units? [LE] just fobs us off, which irritates the s*** out of us.”

LE enforcement boss Tim Francis says his compliance cops have been on the ball, ringing Autoline under an alias trying to book more than 13 units and also inspecting their records.

“They are operating, as far as we’re concerned, lawfully.”

Francis claims the Motel Association has an “unfounded, competitive suspicion”.

He admits Autoline “unlawfully” put doors rather than windows in but says that was subsequently approved.
“If they wanted to break the law and breach the abatement notice, there’s an opportunity to do that by utilising those doors.”

Smith is “stunned” at Autoline’s retrospective consent: “It makes a total farce of the resource consent process. Why have a resource consent process to go through and why have district plan rules when people can just build and then get retrospective consents?

“And then this business of trying to police it after the horse has bolted – it’s impossible to police it and developers are aware of that.”

But Autoline owner Mark Meates swears his motel only sells 13 units and couldn’t use 26 anyway – “because [doors] don’t interlock so someone in one [unit] could walk into someone else’s unit”.

He dismisses Motel Association concerns: “I couldn’t give a stuff if they’re upset about it.”

Having doors instead of windows is also safer in case of fire, Meates adds.

Six months ago Wensley Developments’ new Marina Baches complex on Frankton Road was fined $750 by LE for using sliding doors to convert consented three-bedroom apartments into one and two-bedroom units.

The company’s now applied for resource consent to let out one and two-bedroom units for visitor ccommodation.