In the sun: New mountain beech plantings on Mt Dewar Station above the Coronet Peak road. PICTURE: ADAM SMITH


The sale of cabin sections on Queenstown’s Mt Dewar Station could be delayed by up to two years.

Treespace Queenstown boss Adam Smith says the commercially-funded native reforestation project has found the money to start planting trees, but a virtual halt on bank lending for new commercial subdivisions means the first sections may not hit the market till 2022.

Smith, who’s an 80% partner in the project, says they’d initially planned to market the first of the 37 cabin lots this year.

He’s still hoping that could happen in the first half of next year.

‘‘We’re hopeful that the banks will recognise the need for new supply in the market.’’

In the meantime, a small team from new local iwi charity Mana Tahuna has planted nearly 8000 mountain beech trees on the site since late September  the green protective sleeves are visible from Malaghans and Littles Roads.

The first planting’s a huge milestone for the project, ‘‘because pretty much the whole project’s a mechanism for doing that’’, he says.

The plan is to plant 30,000 trees a year from next year.

Treespace aims to generate enough revenue from section sales to cover the costs of buying the station, the staged planting of more than 140,000 trees and the ongoing management and maintenance of the 1768ha property.

The venture has beaten the odds just to get this far.

Treespace director Adam Smith

Despite a City Hall planner’s recommendation it be refused, independent commissioners granted the company consent a year ago for a 55-lot subdivision on the former Crown-owned farm.

But an Environment Court appeal by neighbours Chris and Elisabet Streat, resolved in April, resulted in the project losing six cabin sites that would’ve been offered to the market immediately.

Smith says because infrastructure costs will largely remain the same, the loss of the sections means the remaining ones will cost at least $100,000 more each than he’d hoped.

‘‘So it’s taken a very large proportion of the sites that we would’ve been able to offer up front, which is bad from an affordability perspective.’’

The development will now consist of 37 cabins and 10 chalets for residential and visitor accommodation, and a lodge for overnight guests.

All the lots are to be released over a 10-year period.