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Southern Capital wins township approval

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Tuesday 29th January 2002

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Property and investment company Southern Capital (NZSE: SCL) says plans for its new Pegasus Bay township near Christchurch have been given the green light by the Environment Court.

"This decision finally has cleared the way for the development to take place, a development which was first conceived in 1997 and which has been tied up by the Resource Management consent process since mid 1998," says investment director, Michael O'Connor.

Mr O'Connor says the decision follows a recent 4-week hearing and two local authority hearings in 1998 and 1999, each before independent commissioners, that also found in favour of the company's development plan.

"Environment Canterbury, the Canterbury regional council, referred both of those earlier decisions in favour of Southern Capital's proposals to the Environment Court."

Southern Capital says the Environment Court's decision overturns the hierarchy of development advanced by the regional council's witnesses, which is to concentrate growth on existing centres.

"This is an important breakthrough for Southern Capital and its shareholders, who have had to wait four years for planning approval," says Mr O'Connor.

"However, legislators and officials responsible for the Resource Management Act should look to this case as it exemplifies the flaws in the current Act that enable the planning process to become protracted and expensive, thereby discouraging investment."

According to the company, the ruling means that the local Waimakariri District Council is now required to bring the Pegasus Bay Town zone into both its transitional and proposed District Plans.

Pegasus Bay Town Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary Southern Capital. The proposed town will be sited on around 338 hectares of land, 20 kilometres north of Christchurch.

Initial work on the project is slated to start once subdivision consents are gained later this year and take some two years, including building a 12 hectare lake.

The rest of the development will take place over the next 20 years and will eventually comprise 1,800 dwellings with a population of 5,000. The built-out value of the town is currently estimated at $130m.

Southern Capital is a major shareholder in the Omaha Beach development north of Auckland, owns several other South Island property developments and also has shareholdings in biotech companies, Blis Technologies (NZSE: BLT), A2 Corporation, Botry-Zen and Pharma-Zen.

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