Council rules out ‘reserve swap’ for development

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Plans for a new local shopping centre zone in Hawea are progressing, but without a “reserve swap” with Bodkin St Reserve.

The development, on land next to Hawea Store & Kitchen (formerly Sailz) in Capell Ave, includes space for apartments and retail and service outlets that could be used for health services, boutique stores and a grocery.

Quartz Development Group is planning to lodge resource consent for its development in February or March next year.

Managing director Matt Laming said he tried to accommodate the local community when developing the plans.

Earlier in the year, the community were invited to share their thoughts on several concept ideas, including one concept that would involve a “reserve swap” of land to move Bodkin St Reserve into the centre of the development.

This idea gained a positive response from the majority of people at the meetings, so Mr Laming approached the Queenstown Lakes District Council to discuss the possibility.

“Since we presented our concept options in August we have been focusing on what is required to obtain the reserve swap that was indicated as a clear preference by those in attendance,” Mr Laming said.

He met the council parks and reserves team and shared both options and they agreed to review it.

“Unfortunately, through the review process they have taken a position on a process to achieve the desired outcome that is not conducive from a timing or commercial perspective,” Mr Laming said.

“It seems that in this particular situation there is no willingness to engage in community-led development, which is regrettable and, in my opinion, undermines the role of community boards and associations.”

Mr Laming said he was frustrated and felt like he was letting people down, but was looking forward to working with the community to bring the development to fruition.

Council media and channels adviser Jack Barlow said the parks and reserves team declined the proposal because it would have resulted in a loss of usable open green space, to with a commercial forecourt, and because of the Bodkin St Reserve’s benefit to the local community as a green open space in a key location.

The proposal would have had a significant effect on the existing reserve’s character and function.

As a result, the council could not consider the proposal as an exchange or “reserve swap”, but rather a disposal, he said.

“We would like to add that in our discussions with Mr Laming we have offered to work with the developers to identify common opportunities to enhance the reserve for the enjoyment and benefit of the public.”