Retirement village proposal ‘cynical’


A special housing area proposal for a retirement village on a 46ha site near Arrowtown has been labelled “cynical” by opponents.

A company linked to developer Chris Meehan lodged a proposal for the Ayrburn Retirement Village with the Queenstown’s council last month.

It hopes to build 201 homes, as well as care and recreational facilities, next to Millbrook Resort.

A 150-section special housing proposal lodged for the same site 12 months ago was rejected by the council last June after attracting strong public criticism.

Nearby residents are again joining forces to oppose the plan.

A flyer encouraging people to submit online feedback to the council was distributed to dozens of homes last week.

Speargrass Flat Rd resident, Wendy Clarke, says the proposal is “cynical” and put the area’s special values at risk.

She supports the need for more affordable housing but some developers are using a “scattershot” approach to exploit the fast-track process, she says. 

“What I disagree with is the way it’s been brought through the back door, with virtually no consultation.”

Clarke says another retirement village proposal lodged under special housing rules, for a 20ha site in McDonnell Rd, attracted widespread support because it was on the edge of Arrowtown, on a sunny and flat site close to amenities.

Ayrburn was “geographically isolated”, she says.

Another Speargrass Flat Rd resident, artist Peter Beadle, says the proposal is a “carefully distorted” version of the earlier plan for the site.

Even a far smaller development would have a detrimental effect on the water quality of Mill Creek and Lake Hayes, Beadle says.

He was particularly troubled by the plan to widen the creek from its present 3m to 4m width to up to 15m wide.

Beadle’s son, Arrowtown resident Simon Beadle, says much of the proposal’s content has been drawn from the previous 158-lot plan for the site.

“They’ve just used the same reports, but upped it to 201 sections. That alone is a bit of a nonsense.

“In my opinion, it’s just a cynical and opportunist approach to try and get a subdivision approved that would never have a chance under the current district plan.”

Developer Chris Meehan could not be reached for comment.

The Otago Daily Times understands the council has received about 30 written submissions on the proposal to date.

The proposal is one of four to be considered at a special council meeting on March 1.

The others are the Arrowtown Lifestyle Retirement Village, the Gorge Rd “business mixed-use zone” and a 95-lot extension to the Shotover Country subdivision.

The deadline for informal public feedback on the Gorge Rd and Ayrburn proposals is next Friday.

– Otago Daily Times