by Peter Owens

Further documentation has been filed with the Queenstown District Council in connection with a proposed “Olive Leaf” centre next to the historic St Patrick’s Catholic church in Arrowtown.

A resource consent application was filed with the council in August last year, but the council would not formally accept it until preliminary requirements were met.

This has been done and further documentation has been filed, including Fred van Brandenberg’s architect’s statement.

In it he stated, “The Olive Leaf will bring youth and vitality to St Patrick’s church, a new wave of energy to the parish, attracting and welcoming a diversity of residents and visitors from all walks of life.”

The Olive Leaf Charitable Trust, which is backing the new centre, has pledged to raise the money for the building and not to start building until all that money is raised.

The trust took the unusual step of requesting that the application be publicly notified and this is likely to occur sometime within the next few months.

The trust’s board intends the facility should be used for traditional Catholic activities for a growing congregation and for the general purposes of the organisations and people of the district. The proposal and the design of the facility has been approved by the Catholic Diocese of Dunedin. The diocese owns the property and its design has also been approved by the local parish priest.

However, some of the local people in Arrowtown are opposed to the facility, mostly on the grounds that the design of the building, in their opinion, detracts from the special character of Arrowtown.

This has resulted in the formation of an incorporated society formed by local man Wayne Hulls, who lives next door to the church property. He said his group does not object to the building per se but objects to its design.

He expects there to be a significant number of objections filed opposing the application. However, Mr van Brandenberg and the charitable trust said the building, which is indeed shaped like an olive leaf, will have a low visual impact as it would be sunk two metres below ground level and only its roof of local stone would be visible.