Sky­line car park re­ferred; rock­fall con­cerns

Otago Daily Times - - REGIONS - TRACEY ROXBURGH tracey.roxburgh@odt.co.nz

SKY­LINE En­ter­prises be­lieves any ad­verse ef­fects of a pro­posed multi­storey park­ing build­ing in Queen­stown will be out­weighed by its ben­e­fits.

How­ever, the po­ten­tial for rock­fall from Ben Lomond was raised as a po­ten­tial is­sue the com­pany may need to deal with, dur­ing a hear­ing be­fore the En­vi­ron­ment Court this week.

Sky­line was granted a di­rec­tre­fer­ral to the court for its re­source con­sent ap­pli­ca­tion of a 448­berth car park, pro­posed on land at the bot­tom of Ben Lomond, be­side its ex­ist­ing, and pro­posed, lower gon­dola ter­mi­nal.

The car park ap­pears to be a key com­po­nent of Sky­line’s larger plans — a $100 mil­lion­plus re­de­vel­op­ment of its lower gon­dola ter­mi­nal, gon­do­las, and up­per fa­cil­i­ties.

The ap­pli­ca­tion for the big­ger de­vel­op­ment was heard by the En­vi­ron­ment Court last year and an in­terim de­ci­sion, is­sued in Au­gust, found no rea­son to de­cline it at that stage.

Pro­vi­sion of at least 350 car parks, how­ever, was re­quired.

Sky­line coun­sel Graeme Todd sub­mit­ted that the sub­se­quent car park pro­posal ‘‘can and should be granted con­sent’’ when con­di­tions — which would avoid, rem­edy or mit­i­gate any ad­verse ef­fects on the en­vi­ron­ment — were con­sid­ered.

‘‘Sky­line sub­mits the pro­posed car park build­ing will suc­cess­fully ad­dress the ex­ist­ing and an­tic­i­pated is­sues around de­mand for car park­ing for users of the gon­dola, other Ben Lomond Re­serve users and its staff.

‘‘The car park will have a sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fit not only on Sky­line, but other users of Ben Lomond Re­serve, as well as pro­vide a wider ben­e­fit to the Queen­stown com­mu­nity and the New Zealand tourism

in­dus­try.’’

How­ever, Judge John Has­san and com­mis­sion­ers Kate Wilkin­son and Rus­sell Howie

heard the po­ten­tial for rock­fall from Ben Lomond down to the build­ing — pro­posed to be lo­cated be­side Sky­line’s lower

gon­dola ter­mi­nal — was a haz­ard that needed to be ad­dressed.

Mr Todd said that is­sue was not raised dur­ing last year’s hear­ing, but could be dealt with in a sim­i­lar way to the fire haz­ard risk, which was iden­ti­fied.

In that case, par­ties were to work to­gether to come up with a man­age­ment plan, to be cer­ti­fied by the Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil and re­viewed.

Both the Otago Re­gional and Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict coun­cils, how­ever, sought for spe­cific mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures re­gard­ing rock­fall.

Those in­cluded con­struct­ing earth bunds, be­tween 3m and 6m wide and up to 100m long, at var­i­ous points on Ben Lomond, po­ten­tially cov­er­ing a walk­way be­tween the car park and lower gon­dola ter­mi­nal, and us­ing shock­ab­sorbent build­ing ma­te­ri­als.

Mr Todd said Sky­line had al­ready ob­tained a lease from the coun­cil for the pro­posed build­ing — that was pub­licly no­ti­fied and no sub­mis­sions were re­ceived.

He sub­mit­ted any ad­verse ef­fects which might out­weigh ben­e­fits ac­cru­ing from the pro­posal had been avoided, mit­i­gated or reme­died, and the com­pany had amended the de­vel­op­ment to ad­dress ‘‘the ma­jor­ity of con­cerns’’ from par­ties ini­tially in op­po­si­tion.

He said when the pro­posed build­ing was con­sid­ered in the con­text of the im­me­di­ate re­ceiv­ing en­vi­ron­ment — in­clud­ing ex­ist­ing de­vel­op­ment in the area and more planned through the Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil’s plan change 50, which extended the re­sort’s town cen­tre zone — the ef­fects of the pro­posal on the wider land­scape would be ‘‘no more than mi­nor’’.

The hear­ing has been ad­journed for Sky­line to spec­ify pro­posed mea­sures to deal with the rock­fall is­sue, and for clos­ing sub­mis­sions there­after.

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