Olive Leaf Church design stirs up Central Otago

A proposed design for an Olive Leaf Church – so named because of its shape – has been rejected.

The controversial design by Central Otago architect Fred Van Brandenburg will be decided by the public in May.

The proposal has split the Central Otago town of Arrowtown, attracting 369 submissions last year. One-hundred-and-fifty opposed the proposed plan.

The developers say their leaf-shaped church building is a “gift” to the Catholic parish and wider community in Arrowtown.

Opponents say the “modern and futuristic design” is inappropriate in proximity to heritage buildings.

According to Queenstown Lakes District Council documents the Olive Leaf Centre Trust last year applied to avoid a council hearing and have the application directly referred to the Environment Court.

After the application was declined, the trust lodged an objection that was heard by a council-appointed commissioner in September.
The objection was withdrawn at the end of the hearing.

The council is now preparing to hear the application in May.

The Olive Leaf centre would be situated beside the heritage-listed St Patrick’s Catholic Church.

The design is for the Olive Leaf to be sunk two metres below ground level, so the only part that protrudes is the stone-clad roof.

It is envisaged as both a parish and community centre, with features including a hall, accommodation, and a wall of remembrance.

It has the blessing of the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin, which owns the land.

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