‘Positive’ vibe on Clutha growth

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Small towns in the Upper Clutha region are expanding.

While the focus is typically on growth in Queenstown and Wanaka, general stores have been opened in Cardrona and Luggate within the past two months, and a child-care centre recently opened in Lake Hawea.

Lake Hawea Community Association chairman Paul Cunningham said there had been an increase in families moving to the town.

Large portions of nearby subdivisions had been sold, he said, and the school roll had increased from about 70 pupils in 2003 to 210 this year.

“That’s a huge change.”

There was a mini rush hour each weekday at 8.45am, he said.

House prices have also increased dramatically in the area. Queenstown Lakes District Council’s recently released property rating revaluation figures revealed land values for the Hawea, Makarora, Luggate and Albert Town areas had increased 91.8% between July 1, 2014 and July 1 this year, while the Hawea Town-Johns Creek area increased by 145.5% over the same period.

But while continued expansion was on the horizon, Mr Cunningham said the community would not fight growth in the town.

It was instead important to plan ahead, he said.

“It’s only going to expand.

“We’ve got to roll with it.

“All you can do is control it and put a good standard on the developments.”

The community was keeping an eye on the amount of traffic on the small roads, he said, and had also submitted a plan to the QLDC to develop the 40ha “domain” into a sporting ground that could link the Lake Hawea and Hawea Flat communities. The two towns were likely to become more unified as the areas continued to expand, he said.

In Luggate, business owners Rod Bowler and Jana Burgess recently opened the Luggate General Store to complement their existing operation at the Luggate Hotel and the Old Truck Cafe. Mr Bowler said further plans for the site included mini golf, a fish and chip shop and accommodation.

Cardrona resident Margaret Bowes opened the Cardrona Valley General Store last month. Within weeks, she had regular customers, she said.

Development proposals for the Cardrona Valley, which include a golf course, a four-star hotel and 640 residential sections, are still being assessed, but Ms Bowes said there was large potential for growth in the area.

“The potential is definitely there. When you look at tourist numbers and count the cars .. if you get 10% of them to stop, that would be great.

“There’s a lot of expectation that things are happening.

“Everyone’s really positive.”