Queenstown’s mayor is defending the timing of publicity for the council’s proposed Lakeview development.
Commissioners are yet to make a decision on plan change 50 - which, if approved, will extend the town centre area towards Skyline and allow a commercial development on the former campground site.
Yet Queenstown’s council and top property consultancy CBRE have sent out a marketing brochure for a five hectare development called the “Queenstown Convention Centre Precinct” at Lakeview.
Opponents say it smacks of council arrogance.
But mayor Vanessa van Uden calls it a “chicken and egg thing”.
“I have reviewed the document that was prepared and it is very clearly identified that it is subject to plan change 50 and the outcomes from that, and the convention centre is subject to funding.
“But it takes a long lead time to get something sorted out.
“I don’t think it’s presupposing at all the outcome of plan change 50 or the convention centre funding - it’s just putting it out there in the market.”
The document says the site “with stunning views across Lake Wakatipu” is currently being rezoned under the plan change - “with decisions anticipated in April 2015”.
Environmental law specialist Mike Holm - who represented Memorial Properties in the plan change hearings - says the timing of the marketing’s surprising given the commissioners are still writing their decision.
“This tends to suggest they simply see the commissioners as providing some sort of rubber stamp approval.
“It shows a surprising lack of respect for the integrity of the hearing process. This is an arrogant attitude.”
Asked if this increases the likelihood of an appeal, he agrees.
“I think in the long run it may well increase the chances of this matter ending up in the Environment Court.”
Remarkables Park managing director Alastair Porter thinks an appeal is inevitable - “whichever way the decision goes - and it could go either way.”