November, 2021A master plan for Queenstowns Ladies Mile has been adopted, despite
overwhelming opposition by the areas residents.
After more than 18 months of wrangling over the issue, Queenstown
Lakes district councillors voted eight-to-one in favour of the master plan
It was a bold decision given that of 506 submissions received on the
draft master plan in May, only 5 percent were in support.
The master plan seeks to proactively guide the development of land
beside the main arterial route into Queenstown, between Lake Hayes
and the Shotover River.
It envisages up to 2400 high or medium-density homes, a commercial
centre and possibly two new schools.
However, development will only be allowed as transport infrastructure
is built to alleviate the highways notorious peak-hour congestion.
In her report for councillors, council policy planner Liz Simpson said the
master plan would support reduced vehicle ownership or use, but
addressing the areas congestion would require intervention by the NZ
Transport Agency and Otago Regional Council.
Apart from a west-bound bus lane and a roundabout at the intersection
with Howards Dr, both due for completion in 2024, no other transport
measures had funding in place.
However, because development of the area was likely to take 10 to 15
years, there was time for a "suite of other mechanisms" to be planned,
funded and built.
Cr Val Miller said her views on the master plan had switched 180 degrees
over the past two years.
Failing to approve it would open the door for more developments like
Laurel Hills Ltds "high-end and expensive" Koko Ridge subdivision,
instead of the companys higher-density proposal rejected by the
council in 2019.
Cr Esther Whitehead said she was now more informed about the issue
than at her first council meeting in July, and she now understood the
master plan would unlock public funding for necessary infrastructure
that would not be available should private development be allowed to
proceed on a "fast track" basis.
Cr Niamh Shaw said residents in the area were still asking her why the
council was "allowing development of Ladies Mile".
"To re-emphasise, council cant prohibit or permit development.
"A landowner can apply to develop their land under the RMA process and
the district plan, so the Ladies Mile will be developed regardless."
The master plan would ensure the land was developed with "good stuff"
such as higher-density, more affordable housing and measures for
reducing vehicle use, she said.
Mayor Jim Boult said he would prefer the Ladies Mile was not developed
any more, but knew that was a "naive desire".
"Were better to be holding the steering wheel on this through this
master plan, than to simply let development take place ad hoc, with no
However, in a statement clearly aimed at the NZTA, he said
development of the area would occur "in the blink of an eye", and
transport solutions were needed as soon as possible.
Only Cr Craig Ferguson voted against the master plan.
In line with amendments from Crs Whitehead and Niki Gladding, staff
will report back to councillors in March on a range of matters that
include the locations for two possible new schools, a corridor for
birdlife between Lake Hayes and the Shotover River, restrictions on
residential visitor accommodation and discouraging cats.
Source: Otago Daily Times
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