The 113-bed hotel that Northlake Investments Ltd is proposing has become a notified consent by council and concerned residents have until March 21 to voice their opposition, or support, for the development.
The proposed hotel is to be located on the northern side of Northlake Drive, in Activity Area D1 which is the commercial precinct of the Northlake Special Zone. That commercial activity was supposed to be a small-scale neighbourhood retail area to service the daily needs of the local community but plans now include a hotel with restaurant, bar and gym facilities and parking for 70 vehicles, whilst bowling the current tennis court to make way.
Owners within Northlake are gagged from opposing, so Wanaka resident Niamh Shaw is encouraging other local residents to campaign on their behalf. The only problem is that Northlake owners can’t request anyone to act on their behalf so concerned locals need to be presumptive.
“The developer’s latest proposal appears to me to be the latest in a string of manoeuvres to wring as much money as possible out of Northlake at the expense of the environment, the landscape, and the wishes and best interests of our entire community,” said Shaw. “The [land] was originally zoned Rural Residential and, through a steady process of layering resource consents, I think it has turned into something that nobody would have signed up for at the start.”
“I suggest everyone should make a formal submission saying what they think about the Northlake hotel (in the interests of fairness, that would either be submitting in opposition to it, or submitting in favour of it). However, it’s important that the submission speaks to how the proposal aligns with the RMA,” she said.
Winton appears to think the hotel is a done deal with their website listing visitor accommodation under the header “construction well under way”. However it does not describe that this is a large hotel with a bus park. Sales and marketing materials for the sale of vacant land also fail to mention the change in scope.
Anyone can make a submission but those most affected could carry the most sway - the very people being banned from opposing. However, renters in Northlake are able to protest; they are not bound by any legal agreement but will still bear the full brunt of coach loads of tourists passing through their neighbourhood streets. As long as they are not acting on instruction from their landlord but simply out of concern for their own neighbourhood, renters could pack a punch at the council hearing. Hikuwai owners who will also be directly affected by the hotel can also submit.
QLDC advises, “For a strong case, it is recommended that submitters review the application, talk to others who may be affected, and/or talk to QLDC staff before drafting their submission. This should help identify matters that should be raised and ones that aren’t relevant to the resource consent.”
Council also advises that submitters don’t have to be present at the hearing. “All submissions received have been pre-circulated and taken as read.”
When asked how Northlake residents could voice their opinion without revealing their identity, QLDC responded that, “It is a civil matter between Northlake and their homeowners, so it would be inappropriate for QLDC to comment and we could face legal implications if we were to provide such guidance.”
Shaw says the intention is to write a legally accurate and Resource Management Act-specific submission that people in the community can individually submit. There is strength in numbers and she asks everyone who wants to be a part of the movement to make their submission then share it on their Facebook timeline with a link to the QLDC submission’s page. Any questions or suggestions can be made to Shaw by finding her on the Upper Clutha Community Notices Facebook page, then messaging her directly.