Wakatipu Basin study continues
Chunks of the rural Wakatipu Basin could become ‘‘urban parkland’’ if an independent rezoning proposal finds favour with the Queenstown Lakes District Council.
Arrowtown councillor Scott Stevens says the proposal has ‘‘sent pretty much everybody into a tail spin’’, while Queenstown Lakes District Council planning and regulatory manager Tony Avery said it was a ‘‘significant departure’’ from the Wakatipu zone.
But before anything goes ahead, council staff will review the Wakatipu Basin Land Use Report commissioned last year from Auckland based consultants Barry Kaye Associates Limited, Bridget Gilbert Landscape Architecture and StrategEase.
The council has released the report ‘‘for information purposes only’’, with the rider that it ‘‘does not represent the council’s view at this time’’.
Councillors unanimously resolved last week to note the contents and instructed staff to review it and report back with a planning response.
Any changes would take more than a year and would include a call for public submissions and a public hearing, possibly in 2018.
Queenstown planner Ben Farrell said during the public forum it was his personal opinion the report was ‘‘good, solid, robust’’ and urged the council not to drag the process out.
Because the report was independent, there was a good case to adopt it, he said.
‘‘I have a concern if staff spend too much time thinking about what is right, no one will get it right . . . There’s some strong recommendations and I would like to see them happen reasonably quickly,’’ Farrell said.
The report presents a scenario that could halt undesirable incremental development in the rural zone.
Mayor Jim Boult said the report was ‘‘very comprehensive’’ and ‘‘well developed’’.
He asked Avery why the council should not seek a public response to it.
Avery said public comment could be ‘‘less well organised’’ and it was important to hear from a series of public interest groups.
While a public response might be helpful, submissions to the district plan review already gave a clear view, he said.
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