Wanaka has taken one step closer to becoming Wannywood, with confirmation from Silverlight Studios Ltd the sale and purchase agreement of Corbridge Estates’ 322ha farm is unconditional.

Silverlight Studios Ltd spokesman Mike Wallis said on Monday a deposit had been paid, following recent negotiations with investment company South Island Office.

South Island Office is an investment company associated with Canterbury businessmen Tom Elworthy, James Stringer, Sam Rofe and Rob Farrell.

Mr Elworthy was involved with the Southern Hemisphere Proving Ground on the Pisa Range for many years.

He was also managing director of the Milford-Dart tunnel proposal, which was shelved during the economic downturn in 2009.

Mr Wallis said New Zealand Trade and Enterprise helped with introductions to South Island Office.

The $280 million studio consent was approved by a fast track resource consent panel on December 8.

The Silverlight Studios team was thrilled to have the studio consent in hand and was moving rapidly forward with the development, Mr Wallis said.

“We have secured the land working with dynamic investing firm South Island Office from Christchurch. New Zealand Trade and Enterprise have been incredibly helpful forging this relationship.

“We also want to thank local real estate company First National for all their hard work brokering the original land deal.

“We are now in the process of moving into final design on the first stage of the development and forming new partnerships with companies and teams that will help us build this exciting creative and educational hub,” Mr Wallis said.

An EPA spokesman confirmed last week the appeal period for the December 8 studio decision would end today.

Another deadline looms on February 4, when the fast track consent panel releases its decision about Silverlight’s worker accommodation proposal.

The fast track panel invited submissions from 29 affected parties on the accommodation proposal and received 12 replies, including one late submission which was accepted.

Corbridge Estates manager Peter Marshall is opposing the accommodation proposal, saying water access is not available.

The studios will be built around an existing 11ha artificial irrigation lake.

Conditions attached to the studio consent require Silverlight to join the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s potable water supply at its own expense, manage stormwater discharges and manage lake water quality.

The Otago Regional Council has also granted Silverlight a permit to drill a bore on the Corbridge property.

Mr Marshall also said Silverlight’s planning consultant had “failed to reference” a major reason for Wanaka’s rental house shortage was because many houses did not meet healthy homes standards.

Mr Marshall is a director and 50% shareholder of Corbridge Park Ltd, which owns Corbridge Estates.

The other Corbridge director is Lloyd Ferguson who, with his wife Julie, owns the other 50% of the company.

Mr Marshall said, when contacted in the North Island on Monday, he could not comment about the consent process as he had not been taking notice of it during the holidays.

He said he opposed because accommodation was not originally included in discussions about Silverlight’s studio application.