Porter plans subdivision on land sought by airport

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A developer’s made a controversial bid to create a large subdivision at Remarkables Park – including land at the centre of a seven-year court battle.

Remarkables Park Ltd (RPL), the Queenstown developer behind much of Frankton’s expansion, applied for resource consent for the subdivision on about 42 hectares of land above Hawthorne Drive last month.

The subdivision will contain a 16ha chunk of land on Queenstown Airport’s southern boundary, which makes up most of ‘Lot 6’ – land owned by RPL which the airport’s looking to expand on to.

After a strenuous seven-year dispute in court between the Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) and RPL, QAC won the case over the redesignating of Lot 6 for its expansion.

The court left it up to the two parties to reach an agreement, but QAC won the right to compulsorily purchase the 16ha section of land if a deal wasn’t made.

The 42ha of land’s likely worth tens of millions of dollars, especially with subdivision consent, although Remarkables Park Ltd chief executive Alastair Porter won’t put a price tag on it.

On the 16ha, he says RPL’s waiting to “find out whether they [QAC] are going to buy it or not”.

“This plan doesn’t prevent anything they want to do or impact their designation or ability to buy the land.”

He denies the subdivision proposal’s a sort of bargaining chip in the process of QAC buying the land.

“It’s got nothing to do with the airport proceedings.”

The planned 42ha subdivision will include 84 freehold lots, extensions to Red Oaks Drive and Mountain Ash Drive, as well as three new roads.

The developer’s plans for the land include some housing or visitor accommodation and a new $30 million medical centre with specialised units, at the southern end of the subdivision.

The northern part, containing Lot 6, is expected to be used for entertainment, sport and recreation purposes.

Porter says RPL’s “got clients who wish to get on with the recreation area”.

He adds the airport’s noise boundary restrictions on further development around the airport wouldn’t impact the subdivision.

QAC previously argued that the developer had dragged out the court case over the redesignating of Lot 6.

Remarkables Park’s application for a hearing to try and recover more than $1.75m, about 60 per cent of its legal costs built up during the court battle, was declined last year.

Rachel Tregidga, QAC general manager of property and planning, says the corporation’s “not able to make a comment at this time because we’re still in Lot 6 court proceedings”.

While redesignation has been approved by the Environment Court, both companies are still waiting on the final decision.

Queenstown Lakes District Council planners are vetting the application, which Remarkables Park requested to be non-notified.

joshua.walton@scene.co.nz