Lodge application opposed

Opponents of proposed tourist accommodation in Wanaka say it will create noise, negatively impact the landscape and create lights akin to “Battlestar Galactica” during functions.

At a Queenstown-Lakes District Council consent hearing in the town yesterday, independent commissioner Bob Nixon heard the application for the nine-room Roys Peak Lodge and an accompanying utility shed.

Applicants Gavin and Jacquetta George  want to create the 640sq m, two-storey building in an outstanding natural landscape area on their 17ha property on the Mt Aspiring Rd side of Lake Wanaka, west of Waterfall Creek.

It would provide accommodation and coaching packages to sports and special-interest groups and hold up to 26 weddings or private functions a year.

Submitter Garth Hogan said due to the usually dark nature of the rural-general zoned area, functions would create light akin to “Battlestar Galactica landing”.

“The applicant has said the weddings are a secondary activity. Well it seems to me if that was removed, most objections would be removed.”

He was not satisfied with work done on the applicants’ behalf regarding noise mitigation, as it did not take wind into account, he said.

Submitter Rod Macleod, of Albert Town, said the Waterfall Creek to Damper Bay corridor already had consented residential and commercial buildings within it and the landscape was “at risk” from the cumulative effects of development.

Initially, the applicants wanted a 100-guest maximum for functions, but decreased this to 50 before the hearing to allay concerns about parking overflow.

The application received five submissions, all  opposed to it.

Mr George said the building could have been planned for a more beautiful location on the property, but they chose its current position to minimise amenity impact.

The couple planted 4500 native plants on the site as part of their mission to restore the natural landscape, he said.

On behalf of the applicants, lawyer Jan Caunter said council consented to similar activity at nearby Glendhu Station and the applicants were entitled to consistency.

“The application represents a high level of building design and significant plantings on site to enhance its natural character.”

The activities on site would comfortably comply with district plan night-time noise limits, she said.

The submission from the owners of the Whare Kea Lodge should be struck off as they were in direct trade competition, she said.

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