Countdown supermarket gains resource consent

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The countdown is on.

Resource consent has been granted for a 3000sq m Countdown supermarket in Alexandra and it is set to break New World’s monopoly on large-scale grocery retail in the town.

In a decision dated January 12 and released by the Central Otago District Council this week, independent commissioner Gary Rae approved the development.

Last year, the proposal was dealt a blow when the council’s senior planning officer, Oli Monthule-McIntosh, recommended resource consent for it be declined after developer CPD 2012 Ltd made a consent application in May.

His report included issues such as noise levels, traffic flow, and the economic impact.

The matters he raised were within the legislative framework but prompted a backlash on social media.

Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan later weighed in on the debate.

‘‘A lot of that talk fails to understand the legal process that the recommendation was made within.

‘‘That’s not surprising, because the law concerned [the Resource Management Act] is as complex as a Russian novel.’’

CPD representative Simon Wearing said the company was excited to be granted consent but it was still subject to a 15-working-day appeal period.

Mr Rae was commissioned to make a decision on the resource consent application for the 3000sq msupermarket on a 0.8ha site bordered by Centennial Ave and Ventry St, at a hearing held on November 23 and 24 last year.

The application was publicly notified on May 28 and 22 submissions were lodged — three neutral, seven opposed, and 12 in support.

Mr Wearing said many of the submitters who opposed the development had supported it in principle but opposed it based on certain aspects of the development that had since been mitigated.

He hoped all factors that had concerned submitters had been dealt with and there would be no appeals of Mr Rae’s decision.

‘‘The community is generally very supportive of a second supermarket in the town.’’

CPD had, point-by-point, dealt with the issues raised to meet the criteria for consent to be granted.

Before the hearing, it provided written confirmation it was not proceeding with a pharmacy or cafe as part of the application.

Several other amendments to the proposal were announced at the hearing, to address matters raised in submissions and in a report, before all matters were concluded on December 23.

Mr Rae said he granted resource consent on the basis the proposed supermarket would bring significant economic and social benefits to the people of Alexandra, and the location at the interface of the residential and business zones was appropriate, given the lack of suitable sites in the business zone.

The proposal would inevitably result in a significant change to the residential character of Ventry St, but the adverse effects on residential amenity could be satisfactorily managed through the changes in design, other mitigation measures, and by the construction and ongoing operations to be in accordance with approved management plans, he said.

‘‘Consent can therefore appropriately be granted, subject to appropriate conditions.’’

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