Gapes of wrath over Five Mile delay

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A developer is spitting tacks about planning approval delays for his $125 million shopping complex at Queenstown’s entranceway. 

Aucklander Tony Gapes says he’d hoped to have started stage one of his Five Mile complex, at Frankton Flats’ “Hendo’s Hole” site – but his company’s been “battling like hell” to get Queenstown Lakes District Council consent for over a year. 

“It’s just a constant request for more information,” he complains. 

“I’d hate to have a project the council didn’t want to see happen in Queenstown if this is the sort of treatment we get when this is something they really want.” 

In April, Gapes got masterplan consent for his complex – anchored by a 4200sq m Countdown supermarket – six months after applying for it. 

This locked in the buildings’ uses and locations, access and carparking. Since then he’s waited for approvals for how his buildings will look. 

“We have had numerous correspondence with council, includ-ing in the last three months at least 11 meetings with the town planners, so there has been an enormous amount of information passed through to them.” 

Gapes says he was “surprised and disappointed” to be alerted this week that QLDC planning body Lakes Environmental had put his application on hold till it received additional information. 

“Following the most recent meeting last Wednesday, we understood that council had all information necessary for their review. 

“We’ve done developments in the States, Australia, Auckland and Wellington, much bigger developments than this, and we’ve never got into this level of detail for a resource consent. 

“We find this to have been an incredibly laboured process.” 

Gapes warns that the building company he’s signed up will move to Christchurch for post-earthquake work early next year if it can’t get cracking on Five Mile. 

Lakes Environmental planning boss Brian Fitzpatrick says Gapes will get his consent “within a few days of [us] getting this final information”. 

“It would appear to be relatively small detail – the trouble is, the masterplan approval does contemplate that level of detail coming in. 

“The other thing I’d say is the site is very prominent, so we do want to get it right.” 

Fitzpatrick says he can understand Gapes’ frustration.
“We would have hoped that we could have got the information much quicker and issued this much more quickly.”