A new water supply easement on US billionaire Peter Thiel’s company Second Star Limited property was put before the Wanaka-Upper Clutha Community Board last week.
The board recommended council grant a 3-3.29m-wide underground water supply easement over Damper Bay Lakeside Recreation Reserve Section.
Queenstown Lakes District council’s independent resource consent panel declined consent in August for Mr Thiel’s plans to build a 330m-long, luxury lodge overlooking Lake Wanaka, saying the building would be too visible and inappropriately dominant in the landscape. The decision has been appealed to the Environment Court by Second Star Ltd.
Wanaka-Upper Clutha Community Board chair Simon Telfer asked about the development of the land.
‘‘This land is with the Environment Court at the moment. How does that sit when we are running an easement of supply water into a development that is before the Environment Court — is there anything we should be aware of when making this decision?’’
Queenstown Lakes District Council senior parks and reserves planer Aaron Burt said he did not believe there was any complexity.
‘‘We are talking about an easement that can convey water between two points. It doesn’t necessarily factor in what may or may not transpire … in the structure of the defined area,’’ Mr Burt said.
Mr Telfer was the first to put a motion, and Lyal Cocks seconded it.
The Wanaka-Upper Clutha Community Board was unanimously in favour.
The general area of reserve relevant to the application was natural land, containing a mix of pasture grasses, exotic scrub and natives, which descended through a rocky bay to Lake Wanaka.
The reserve contained the Glendhu Bay track.
Work to install the infrastructure was expected to take about one week, and would be hidden and the land remediated.
The Damper Bay Lakeside Recreation Reserve Section was included in Wanaka Lakefront Reserves Management Plan (RMP), which identified the reserve as having high amenity values, with the Glendhu Bay track noted as a valued community asset.
The Reserves Act 1977 required an easement be notified, unless it could be shown it would not have a permanent effect on the reserve or the public’s ability to enjoy it.
The easement would be perpetual property right to Second Star Limited and QLDC would charge an easement fee.
The fee was set in accordance with council’s easement policy 2008.
The policy stated applicants had to pay an application fee of $600 plus gst for underground services and $1320 plus gst for right of way easements.
According to the policy, the applicant needed to pay a $1000-$5000 bond to council and sign a temporary access licence before any construction began
The bond would be refunded subject to reinstatement of the property to council’s standards and satisfaction.
The report noted no specific consultation with Maori had been undertaken.