Decision on Frankton Flats looms
A final decision on the fate of Queenstown’s most sought-after, controversial piece of land is expected in the next few months. That land, the Frankton Flats, is the last available flat land suitable for large-scale retail development in Queenstown and so far has a Pak ’n Save supermarket, Mitre 10 Mega store and mega mall including a Countdown supermarket, slated to be built on it. Combined, the projects have a value topping the hundreds of millions of dollars mark – and the potential to create hundreds of jobs. Part of the land is notorious for being the site of ‘‘Hendo’s Hole’’ the failed development of a ‘‘Tuscan Village’’ type development which was to include ‘‘workers’ accommodation’’ and a large format retail centre. All that eventuated from the failed development was a huge hole, which was going to be used as an underground carpark - which has been dubbed Hendo’s Hole after the developer behind the failed venture, David Henderson. Adding to the land’s value and the wrangle of what should be built there, is the fact that Queenstown’s Eastern Access Road, joining the Frankton Flats and
A view of the Frankton Flats from The Remarkables Range. The flats could soon be drastically different and highly developed – depending on the outcome of the Plan Change 19 rezoning decision, which is imminent. Remarkables Park, will intersect the area. The road will skirt around the end of Queenstown Airport’s runway – offering motorists spectacular views of the Shotover River delta, and the undercarriages of planes as they come in to land. The $6.46 million road will get rid of the notorious crash black spot at the intersection of Glenda Dr and State Highway 6. Work on the road is due to start next year. A new site for Wakatipu High School is also planned for Remarkables Park and is expected to open after 2017. The key to unlocking the land is Plan Change 19, which has effectively turned the Frankton Flats into a planning twilight zone. Since the mid-1990s the land has been zoned as rural general. After 10 years of indecision on whether the Frankton Flats needs to be opened up for large-scale retail development, and numerous Environment Court hearings, the plan change 19 decision is now imminent. Plan Change 19 seeks to provide urban zones within the Frankton Flats to enable urban development to take place. The council is appealing the right for the Mitre 10 Mega store to be built, even though it won the right to proceed in the Environment Court – and there has been speculation that if the Environment Court rules in favour of rezoning the council will drop its appeal.