FIRM OPPOSITION TO MT COOK MOTEL EXPANSION

Aoraki Court Motel’s planned expansion process has been all but straightforward.

Federated Mountain Club (FMC) has made a submission against the plan to expand the 25-unit Aoraki Court Motel to 37 units, with an additional guest laundry, manager’s quarters, and a grocery outlet.

DOC revealed that it received two public submissions regarding the motel’s expansion, both against it.

FMC, who opposed the expansion, serve to “celebrate outdoor recreation” and represent more than 20,000 members. It urges DOC to either put the proposal up for a public debate or decline it as it does not fit with the National Park Management Plan.

FMC opposes the expansion because the motel will cover a lot of land – Mount Cook village only covers about half a square kilometre, most of which is extreme terrain.

“Given this context, the application, for an approximately 50 percent expansion of the present operation, is asking a great deal of the natural environment,” FMC vice president Jan Finlayson said in his submission to DOC.

“The increased pressure that would be placed on the natural environment in Aoraki/Mount Cook village by the proposed activity would likely be at odds with the principle of preservation in perpetuity.”

Grand Properties, the motel’s developer, argues that the expansion is necessary due to rising tourism numbers, and believe the building would fit its environment.

Over six months after Grand Properties made an application to DOC, the motel is still awaiting approval. Construction on the site will not begin on the expansion until DOC has made a decision.