Wakatipu’s big expansion plans

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Queenstown’s council wants public feedback on a dramatic expansion of residential-dwelling zones in the Wakatipu. 

Government statisticians pre­­­­­dict Queenstown Lakes will have New Zealand’s highest population growth between 2001-2026 – up 79 per cent to 32,000 people – and the council must decide where they’ll live. 

To house these extra people, the idea is to zone sufficient land for 20,280 dwellings in the Wakatipu – 14,560 more houses, flats and apartments than what’s presently in the resort. 

Queenstown Lakes District Council policy analyst Jonathan Richards says the zone expansions will be “more than enough” for the next 20-30 years. 

A map of the resort – released this week by the council and enhanced by Mountain Scene (above) – shows so-called ‘growth boundaries’ proposed for each suburb. Arrowtown isn’t covered because expansion of its town boundaries has already been publicly debated, with an Environment Court decision awaited. 

“It’s for the community to decide what should be urban and what should be rural,” Richards says. 

“Then when a [development] proposal comes forward, we’ve got something strategic to assess it against – it’s a nice test for us to use.” However, the council isn’t adding a huge amount of additional land to the residential zones, Richards adds. 

Almost all the extra land has either been zoned residential already or is in the process of being re-zoned – “It just hasn’t been built on yet,” he says. 

In another facet of its district plan review, the council also plans to reduce section sizes in low-density residential developments and tweak rules for setbacks, fence heights and height planes.