The Keep Hawea Beautiful group formed to oppose a proposed special housing area to the south of the town remains “deeply concerned” about the issue.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) received an expression of interest from Universal Developments Hawea Ltd, owned by Lane Hocking, for a Special Housing Area last week, and the council had started informal consultation.
“We have listened carefully to community feedback,” Mr Hocking said.
“Acknowledging that feedback, we have scaled back the proposal to around 400 sections from the 1000 sections envisaged initially.”
However, Tim Ryan, of Keep Hawea Beautiful, was concerned that since initial public discussions with Mr Hocking at drop-in sessions, the amount of land had also decreased, “so the density seems to have increased”, he said.
“It’s an odd thing that he is doing, because he knows that the community doesn’t want it to happen this way, and yet he still continues to try and push it this way.”
A petition opposing the use of SHAs to fast-track development in Hawea had now been sent to QLDC Mayor Jim Boult, and Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, Mr Ryan said.
The petition highlighted how SHA proposals did not require a full public consultation process:
“In reading the special housing area lead policy and housing accord documents of the Queenstown Lakes District Council we note that it is highly unethical and unlawful that all the true and correct processes pertaining to response from affected communities has been removed, in favour of un-opposable development,” it said.
An online survey had been completed by 150 people and the majority said they did not want an SHA, Mr Ryan said.
Mal Robinson, who has lived in Hawea since 2002, said the SHA legislation was introduced for urban areas, but was being used by Mr Hocking to develop rural land.
“It seems crystal clear to me that the SHA legislation introduced by the previous National government was to fast-track the development of land and building of new houses to supposedly solve supply and affordability in urban areas.
“Mr Hocking is trying to use this legislation to develop an SHA on rural general land he has purchased in Lake Hawea,” Mr Robinson said
Mr Hocking said despite there not being a requirement to do so, his company had done almost three months of public consultation.
“We think we’ve turned up. We’ve given factual information and we’ve genuinely listened to people.
“We’ve put together a detailed and comprehensive application. It’s now up to the council to decide whether they want to give it the go ahead or not.”
Mr Hocking said he operated with an open mind.
“We are here to help with affordable housing and to make the project work,” he said.