Row brews over planned new condos


Lake Hayes Estate residents promise to fight plans by their subdivision developer to build a multi-unit complex on their doorstep “tooth and nail”.

Mike Coburn’s company Lake Hayes Estate Ltd is seeking consent for Waterfall Terrace – “affordable housing” in seven two and three-level buildings – on the embankment entrance to the suburb.

But Paul Birtwistle and Liz and Peter Cruickshank, who have properties directly opposite, say they and every owner they’ve spoken to are totally opposed to the idea.

The trio’s main gripe is they claim they were sold their land on the promise the embankment, below a pond area, would be kept predominantly in native vegetation.

“It goes from being a rural outlook to 100 per cent suburbia,” Birtwhistle complains.

“If you were sitting on our deck you’d see people about five metres above you looking down from their decks.

“As far as people driving in and out of [LHE] are concerned, it would destroy the place.”

Birtwistle claims original Lake Hayes Estate covenants showed no unit-title development was allowed.

He also believes proposed access off the main road, servicing 22 carparks, would be “diabolical – it’s dangerous enough already.”

Peter Cruickshank believes the developer will face “a tooth and nail fight”.

His wife Liz says Waterfall Terrace would be “right at the foot of the hill so cars coming down Howards Drive – the only access to the whole subdivision – come down round this blind corner and smack into this [access] lane.

“It is dangerous.”

Mike Coburn suggests his “aesthetically-pleasing” development will enhance what’s “not the tidiest of landscapes in the Wakatipu Basin”.

“It just cuts back into the hill – it’s not domineering.”

His planner also states it’s the only part of the Lake Hayes Estate embankment not protected by a “no build” covenant.

Coburn denies access would be dodgy – 12 units would require “a very limited amount of traffic”.

He says he’s targeting first-home buyers – a three-bedroom unit would be under $400,000.

Coburn notes some original Lake Hayes Estate section buyers got land for only about $120,000 per lot.

“Of course prices have escalated since then, and we’re just trying to reverse the clock a bit.”