Eight-year Olive Leaf Centre stoush over

Olive Leaf Centre

Arrowtown’s controversial Olive Leaf design for its Catholic Parish Centre is now no more than an idea that stirred significant interest and controversy.

For eight years the Olive Leaf Centre Trust has tried to gain resource consent for the design but to no avail, says Trust chairman Colin Bellett.

The plan to build the Centre next to the church has therefore been abandoned.

He says the Trust has also ruled out making a revised consent application after considering legal advice.

The Trust had come to the conclusion that virtually “nothing at all” could be built on the site, regardless of whether the design was contemporary or traditional Bellet says.

While Bellet and those supporting the olive leaf design are disappointed at having to abandon what they saw as a good idea, those opposing the plan are pleased.

NoLeaf is an incorporated society which was formed to oppose the project. Its chairwoman Susan Rowley says NoLeaf supporters felt “deep relief” the matter was not going to the High Court.

In the beginning

Eight years ago, an Olive Leaf design was selected for a multipurpose parish and community centre on land beside St Patrick’s Catholic Church.

Locals were immediately at loggerheads as to what they thought. There were arguments, eight years of them. Legal stoushes. Many people were concerned about the town’s heritage value being compromised with a modern design incorporated into it.

Supporters lodged an Environment Court appeal. A High Court Appeal was a possibility.

Arrowtown was a town divided.

Residents made 362 submissions to the Queenstown Lakes District Council: 214 were in support of the design, one indicated qualified support and 147 were opposed.

Those against the idea were determined the olive leaf design would not go ahead.

The NoLeaf society received support from community organisations such as the Arrowtown Village Association, the Arrowtown Promotion and Business Association, the Queenstown Historical Society and Lakes District Museum.

After a Planning Commissioner turned down resource consent for the building in 2020, the Trust turned to the Environment Court for the matter to be reconsidered.

The end of the road

Last month, the Environment Court upheld the Planning Commissioner’s ruling and denied resource consent for the proposal.

The Trust was given 15 days to appeal the Court’s decision. It chose not to do this.

The parish now has an opportunity for a “genuine consultative process” about how to redevelop the existing building beside the church, Rowley says.


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News category: New Zealand.

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