The Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) has been criticised for ‘‘disrespectful’’ and ‘‘knee-jerk town planning’’ in the wake of its decision to include Lake Hawea South land in the proposed urban intensification variation to the proposed district plan.
Hawea Community Association chairwoman Cherilyn Walthew said the decision to include the land after a recent consent order issued by the Environment Court permitting the council to do so was rushed and lacked consideration for the local community.
‘‘They’ve done a bunch of consultation in Wanaka and Queenstown about intensifying, but they’ve done none of that in Hawea,’’ she said.
The decision also created division among council members, five voting against the motion.
Deputy mayor Quentin Smith, who opposed the decision, said he was ‘‘extremely concerned’’ about the impact such a level of intensification would have on local infrastructure.
‘‘I remain extremely concerned about the ability to service the required infrastructure that will come about as a result of what is now, I suppose, over 7000 potential dwellings in Lake Hawea.
‘‘I was trying to get some assurance and certainty that we had done the work and the investigation to understand the infrastructure and I didn’t get that,’’ he said.
Speaking in favour of the land’s inclusion, QLDC general manager planning and development David Wallace said the decision was made in the interest of best preparing the township for future growth.
‘‘With Lake Hawea South changing zoning to sit inside the area’s urban growth boundary, there is an opportunity to further support a range of housing types offered in the township, plan for the area’s future and make sure the right infrastructure is in place,’’ Cr Wallace said.
However, Ms Walthew said she was not confident appropriate consideration had been given to the question of providing adequate infrastructure.
‘‘The infrastructure in Hawea is not great. The developers are putting in new infrastructure but the council’s not actually paying any attention to the existing infrastructure that’s there.’’
‘‘We’ve had recommendations from the Department of Health back in 2014, 2015 for a second drinking reservoir. Since then, we don’t have that, but we’ve have had a massive amount of development actually happening in Hawea.’’
While the Hawea Community Association was ‘‘not saying no’’ to intensification, the council needed to work with the community and take a more measured approach, she said.
‘‘Their justification for it has been because the government said if communities and councils don’t actually start removing blockages to creating housing, then we’ll come and do it for them.
‘‘But we knew that going into mediation. What we agreed to was zoning that allowed for thousands of houses out at HaHawea
wea, but only on the basis that there was a commercial centre that can actually support those houses.
‘‘Not to rival Wanaka. Not to rival Queenstown. Just to take care of those basic community needs that we have.
‘‘It’s no good plonking a whole bunch of people out here if they have to go into Wanaka for everything.’’
The proposed plan variation will be notified on Thursday, August 24, and then open for public submissions.