Lodge ruckus

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The manager of a Queenstown luxury lodge is at odds with his closest neighbour over a proposed building extension. 

Matakauri Lodge – owned by prominent American billionaire Julian Robertson – is seeking consent for a four-guestroom addition on its Glenorchy side. 

“The new building which is referred to as the Owner’s Cottage has been designed as the premier visitor accommodation within the Matakauri Lodge complex,” the consent application states. 

The proposed single-level structure replaces a two-storey building that got planning approval in 2003 but was never built. 

Neighbour Marc Scaife (above) – ironically also Matakauri’s first architectural designer – complains that the new design covers more than twice the original ground-floor area. 

Scaife argues it will also be far more visible from the lake, the foreshore and a Department of Conservation track below the Five Mile carpark because it will be erected on poles. 

“Does it have to be perched up in the air?” Scaife asks. 

Landscaping will screen the poles but not the building, he says. 

Scaife’s other concern is Matakauri’s rural lifestyle zone. The Owner’s Cottage will be the sixth building on the site, extending the lake-facing length of the lodge to more than 160m, Scaife says. 

“What does rural living mean when you can get a full-blown resort in a zone intended for low-density residential living?” 

Matakauri’s owner’s son and manager Jay Robertson (bleow right) says it’s farcical to claim the new building has more than double the footprint of the originally-approved one. 

“We identified that it would be a significantly less impact on the environment from the lake as well as from other views.” 

Jay says his family’s made a major improvement to Matakauri’s environment since taking over in 2009. 

“Anybody who has noticed anything that our family’s ever done, we’ve only made the properties better. 

“We have a great respect for the environment through what we have at [North Island golf resorts] Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers. 

“We have probably a track record like nobody else in the country for doing that – Matakauri’s no exception.” 

Jay says the aim of the expansion is to keep up with demand. 

Submissions on Mata­kauri’s resource consent close February 16.