September, 2021An Environment Court judge this week green-lit two major golf resort
zones near Arrowtown.
Judge John Hassan has allowed local tourism magnate Sir John Davies
family to develop their proposed Hogans Gully golf resort, which
Queenstowns council originally refused to rezone.
Along with an 18-hole championship golf course designed by Arrowtown-
based ex-pro Greg Turner, and other amenities, theres provision for 60
residential and 16 visitor accommodation units.
Through another consent order, Hassan has also resort- zoned jeweller
Sir Michael Hills golf course, The Hills again, this comes after initial
opposition from the council.
The new zoning allows up to 66 residential and 84 visitor
accommodation units, though only in carefully-selected areas.
Davies son Mike, whos spearheading the Hogans Gully project, says
its been a five-year exercise, and were pretty excited where weve
There were speed humps along the way, where we could have pulled
pin, but at the end of the day, grit and determination got us there.
Through mediation, he says both his and councils sides made
concessions theyd originally proposed 91 accommodation units, for
Its a win-win for both of us.
High-spending golfers are the kind of visitors Queenstown and Wnaka
want, Davies says, rather than mass tourism.
In Covid times, weve had two rough years in Queenstown & this will
take four or five years to develop. Its good for the area.
He says hell know when work will start by early next year.
As part of the consent, the developers agreed, in consultation with the
Trust, to put a walking/cycling trail around the resort.
Hassans court order notes buildings will be put in the upper terraces of
the site, where theyre not visible from State Highway 6, Hogans Gully
Road or McDonnell Rd.
Local Baxter Design Group owner Paddy Baxter, who masterplanned the
resort, says the fundamental, underlying principle was the protection
of the rural values.
He notes features of the design, setting it apart from other golf course
resorts, are 43 hectares of ecological revegetation, and low building
The clubhouse, designed by Auckland architect Andrew Patterson, who
The Hills clubhouse, resembles a low farm wall.
Emma Hill, whose parents have owned The Hills since the 90s, is
delighted her familys property which these days includes a
championship golf course, sculpture park and upmarket lodge now has
resort zone status.
Its a natural progression & for all intents and purposes, The Hills is
presently a resort,
its not rural in character.
Its been a landscape-led process, Hill says.
Activity areas for up to 66 residential and 84 visitor accommodation
units have been identified in areas that are visually discreet, and
development in them will respond to the land form, similar to how the
existing clubhouse and family home do now.
We wanted to ensure the extraordinary landscape is protected, and
that when you walk the fairways or youre viewing the course, it looks
much like it does today.
The resort zone ensures in perpetuity that 95% of the land remains as
space, maintained to a beautiful standard.
Theyve yet to set a time table for developing accommodation.
Source: Mountain Scene
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