Gaudi-inspired: An artist's impression showing the proposed Olive Leaf centre in Arrowtown


The fate of a contentious building proposed for land beside Arrowtown’s St Patrick’s Church is being considered at a resource consent hearing in Queenstown this week.

The Olive Leaf Trust’s proposal for a Gaudi-inspired building, designed by Lake Hayes architect Fred van Brandenburg, attracted a whopping 368 submissions when it went out for public consultation last year — 218 in support and 150 opposed.

About 40 of those submitters are speaking at the three-day hearing, which began on Wednesday.

The planned building features a leaf-shaped floating roof, a water feature that would channel rainwater down the ‘‘leaf’’ stem to the basement floor level, structural glass mullions across the upper floor, and stone and brick renders.

It’d include a church and community hall with capacity for 100, a kitchen, meeting area and adjoining courtyard, a crypt and three bedrooms, mainly for use by visiting clergy.

If consent’s granted and the project proceeds, it’d be funded by donations.

In his opening submissions, trust lawyer Phil Page says the church’s parish is ‘‘fighting for its survival’’ because its congregation is getting older and smaller.

It has heritage buildings the community ‘‘apparently values, but is disinclined to pay for’’, Page says.

‘‘The Olive Leaf is the St Patrick’s parish’s vision for sustaining itself, its buildings, and the community in the 21st century.’’

A City Hall planner’s recommended consent be refused, because the building’s scale and extensive landscaping would ‘‘significantly obscure’’ the church, detract from its primacy and affect the ‘‘simple open and spacious values of the site’’.