‘Divided and conquered’ warning


Residents have been warned if they don’t fight a planned 89-lot housing development in Queenstown’s Arthurs Point, the area will be “divided and conquered”.

The Arthurs Point Community Association held a meeting last night to discuss the proposed development in Atley Rd, which was attended by members of the Arthurs Point Outstanding Natural Landscape Society, a group formed to oppose the build.

Addressing those at the meeting, society member and Arthurs Point resident Matt Semple said the plans were a “complete surprise” for many people and he urged the association to take a stand.

“We are talking about rezoning a huge area.”

The Queenstown Lakes District Council has approved the land to be rezoned from rural to low-density residential.

The society argued the council made the decision despite its own experts deeming the development unsuitable because of concerns about traffic and the effect on the area’s landscape.

The society also raised concerns the proposed residential development overlooking the Shotover River would ruin the rural landscape.

Semple said it did not make sense for experts to argue the site of the proposed development was not part of an “iconic view’, after the landscape had featured on an old postage stamp.

Residents at the meeting yesterday questioned the affordability of homes planned for the site and echoed the society’s concerns about increased traffic as a result of more homes being built.

“Everyone that designs or builds houses knows that on a steep slope you don’t get cheap houses,” Semple said.

The society is chaired by M&C Saatchi Australia chairman and former global chairman of the company, Tom Dery, who owns a holiday home in Arthurs Point.

The society has requested to be a party to the Upper Clutha Environmental Society’s district plan review proceedings filed against Queenstown Lakes District Council.

Semple said appeal decisions made by the Environment Court would have “serious implications” for the whole Wakatipu Basin.

The development company behind the plans is Gertrude’s Saddlery Ltd. Its director is Queenstown businessman Andrew Fairfax.