Cromwell residents to Minister: Don't revisit River Terrace
- by Kim Bowden :
- Jun 26,2020
Cromwell residents concerned new legislation may give a green light to a shelved subdivision on the outskirts of their town are lobbying Wellington as they continue to oppose the development.
Residents for Responsible Development Cromwell (R4RDC) are doing what they can to convince Government River Terrace Developments should not be able to take advantage of new legislation that will allow for infrastructure projects to be fast-tracked.
In recent weeks, the Covid-19 Recovery (Fast-track) Bill has been introduced in the House.
The Bill opens the way for projects to be fast tracked, effectively bypassing parts of the usual Resource Management process.
It’s goal: To accelerate projects that will create opportunities for more employment and a boost to local economies.
River Terrace Developments, owned by Chris Meehan’s Winton Group, has plans for a 900-lot subdivision at Sandflat Rd, neighbouring Highlands Motorsport Park, Cromwell Speedway and orchards.
R4RDC has delivered a letter to Environment Minister David Parker voicing the group’s concerns regarding the potential for Mr Meehan to seek government go-ahead for the subdivision under the new legislation.
Cromwell residents can be excused for thinking the whole subdivision saga was done and dusted.
Last month, Crux broke the news the developer had withdrawn his appeal to the Environment Court to revisit Plan Change 13 (PC 13), which was originally declined by independent commissioners last year after a public hearing.
A plan change is needed to rezone the land in question in order for the subdivision to proceed, and more than 400 submittors opposed the proposal.
In its letter, R4RDC stressed to the Minister the strength of feeling in the town against Mr Meehan’s plans.
“Our membership remains opposed to any type of urban development on this site,” R4RDC acting chair Simon Giles says in the letter.
“We will be active in the public space and wish to be heard in whatever ‘fast track’ process that may ever have jurisdiction should PC 13 be revived in any form.
“PC 13 was judged inappropriate under the spotlight of the RMA process. Our view is that Covid-19 related law changes should not become an excuse to revisit this decision.”
The group's concerns are not without cause - Crux can confirm Mr Meehan has been communicating with powers-that-be in Wellington.
A spokesman for Minister Parker’s office says a letter was received at the start of April from Mr Meehan, outlining his projects.
However, neither Minister Parker nor the Ministry for the Environment have since had any discussion with Mr Meehan or River Terrace Developments, he says.
In addition, the proposed River Terrace Development in Cromwell has not been considered for fast-tracking under the Bill, he says.
Mr Meehan has not responded to Crux' invitation for an interview.