Golf resorts are allowed to continue

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Golf resorts are allowed to continue

An environmental judge this week approved two major golf resort zones near Arrowtown.

Judge John Hassan has allowed the family of local tourism tycoon Sir John Davies to rededicate their proposed Hogans Gully golf resort, which the Queenstown Lakes District Council originally rejected.

In addition to an 18-hole championship golf course designed by former Arrowtown professional Greg Turner and other amenities, 60 residential units and 16 guest accommodations are planned.

With a further approval order, Judge Hassan has also divided the golf course of the jeweler Sir Michael Hill, The Hills, into resort zones – again after initial resistance from the council.

The new zoning allows up to 66 residential and 84 guest accommodations, but only in carefully selected areas.

Sir John’s son Mike, who heads the Hogans Gully project, said, “It’s been a five-year exercise and we’re pretty excited about where we ended up”.

“There were jumps in speed on the way that we could have pulled, but at the end of the day, courage and determination brought us there.”

Through mediation, he said, both his side and that of the council made concessions – for example, they had originally proposed 91 housing units.

“It’s a win-win situation for both of us.”

High-spending golfers were the kind of visitors Queenstown and Wanaka wanted, “rather than mass tourism,” he said.

“We had two tough years in Queenstown in Covid times … it’s going to take four or five years to develop, it’s good for the area.”

He said he would know when the work would start early next year.

As part of the approval process, the developer, in consultation with the Queenstown Trails Trust, agreed to build a walking / cycling path around the resort.

Judge Hassan’s court order determined that buildings would be constructed in the upper terraces of the property that were not visible from State Highway 6, Hogans Gully Rd or McDonnell Rd.

Baxter Design Group owner Paddy Baxter, a local who designed the resort as a master planner, said, “The basic principle was to protect rural values”.

He said the design that sets it apart from other golf resorts is 43 hectares of green greenery and low building heights.

The clubhouse, designed by Auckland architect Andrew Patterson, who also designed The Hills clubhouse, resembles a low farm wall.

– Philip Chandler

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