### ODT Online Sat, 14 Aug 2010
Developments dismay landscape architect
By Matthew Haggart
As residential subdivisions in Wanaka continue to expand the town’s boundaries, the approach of some developers has saddened the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s top landscape consultant. Dr Marion Read, the chief landscape architect at QLDC’s regulatory authority Lake Environmental, says major earthworks associated with some Wanaka developments are destroying parts of the landscape’s most distinctive features.
### ODT Online Sat, 14/08/2010 – 10:14pm.
Comment by qksmith on Landscape Issues
While I am the first to be critical of landscape issues in the district, I think we have to accept that where land is zoned for LDR that we are dealing with a highly modified environment.
LDR = Low Density Residential
Don’t mind my aportioning blame, rightly or wrongly it’s a considered opinion…more like a bad reaction. Of course, Dunedin isn’t free of sprawl at the hands of some people active in Wanaka.
### ODT Online Sun, 15/08/2010 – 6:52pm.
Comment by ej kerr on Wanaka is sprawl
Being an experienced planner or not is hardly relevant when the adverse cumulative effects of house building are totalled for the Wanaka district landscape.
I fully support the comments, as reported, of Dr Marion Read.
My most recent visit to Wanaka two days ago has again reinforced how inadequate the local district plan is to counter unwarranted housing sprawl.
Half the battle might be with the drive of property owners to create (uncritically) an acontextual, uncompromising slice of suburbia in the extraordinarily picturesque, wild and weathered countryside.
Developers of the subdivisions (a small group of influential citizens whom we know by name), like the property owners, are equally uncritical of the environmental impacts of the sprawl they foster, and derive their not inconsiderable profits from.
This hedonistic activity – speculative building – which does not spring from best practice in landscape architecture, architecture (by registered architects), or sustainable environmental design – is supported (‘controlled’) by an ineffectually dull, unresponsive fabric of arbitrary local authority ‘planning’ decisions (zone rules) constraining the use of colour, gables, materials, height plane angles, non reflective surfaces, bulk and location, density et al.
The result is an impoverished sameness, an unspeakably heavy dreariness in the now over-built environment. An eyesore almost without end that submerges/denies the incredible three-dimensional topographical variances of the natural landscape. It might be expensive, it might be what the market demands, it might be what the bulldozer invites, but this is dumbed down contemporary building development at its illogical worst.
The full battle most probably rests with ‘regional planning’ education and professional practice development in New Zealand that is rather too dependent on quasi-legal/legal experiment with the RMA clause and bland generalities of rural zoning – without mandatory professionally accredited multi-disciplinary training in contextual design processes and environmental sustainability.
The collective forces suburbanising Wanaka should be halted. This is not sustainable.
A moratorium, a re-think. District intelligence must be raised for the stewardship and protection of landscape values, inviting informed sympathetic design responses for the making of comfortable ‘dwelling place’…there should be no need for hackles and loss of hair with each visit to Wanaka.
This is a district for smart design, not stuffy inert planning that expects less of the development community than it has to give.
Elizabeth Kerr, Dunedin
Post by Elizabeth Kerr