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New use: The property at 516 Ladies Mile, pictured when it was bought by City Hall two years ago, will be turned into a community facility and council offices

By GUY WILLIAMS

A former home on Queenstown’s Ladies Mile is set to be repurposed into a community facility and council offices.

Queenstown council’s applied to itself to change the allowed use of the property at 516  Ladies Miles, which it bought for just under $14 million about two years ago.

Bordering 600 metres of the highway, the 15-hectare property was owned by the late Bill Walker, a prominent businessman and engineer, who died in 2014, and his wife Jan.

The five-bedroom, 440 square metre house, 320sqm of vehicle and aircraft garaging — Walker was an avid glider pilot — and an in-ground swimming pool have been sitting idle since Jan moved out in early 2019.

So far the council’s done nothing with the property aside from consent its use for informal recreation and built a small carpark by its Howards Drive boundary.

The resource consent application says the house will be used for things like ‘‘Plunket check-ups and group meetings, the toy library, various community meetings, a pop-up library
and temporary offices for government and local government’’.

That’ll benefit residents in Lake Hayes Estate and Shotover Country, who don’t have a community hall, by reducing the need for them to drive to other suburbs for community
events and meetings, it says.

A sealed driveway will be built from Howards Dr to the front of the house, while nine trees will be felled to make way for gravelled access to its rear from the existing driveway off the
highway.

The carpark off Howards Dr will be extended from 20 spaces to 57, while overflow parking for another 27 vehicles will be provided next to the existing driveway.

Landscaping around the house will be maintained ‘‘where possible’’, but the pool will be removed and replaced with a playground.

The council’s draft masterplan for Ladies Mile envisages the demolition of the house and garage to make way for a new ‘‘community hub’’ and sports fields.

However, work on the masterplan’s stalled as council pins its hopes on Waka Kotahi coughing up money for measures to address the highway’s chronic morning rush-hour congestion.

guy.williams@scene.co.nz