A Rotorua marae has voiced its deep-set opposition to 29 units of visitor accommodation proposed on the Lake Rotorua shoreline, saying the developer has "got to stop this".

But the developer is defending his plans for the proposed accommodation units, saying the development would bring jobs for locals and allow for the land to be properly cared for.

A hearing over River and Stone Holding's consent application to build nine buildings on 0.5ha at 54 Whittaker Rd, Koutu, took place at the Rotorua Lakes Council yesterday before independent commissioner Bill Wasley.

Design of the proposed accommodation development. Image / Supplied
Design of the proposed accommodation development. Image / Supplied

Dennis Paul, Te Koutu trustee, and marae spokesman told Wasley "culturally Te Koutu has always been the overflow from Ōhinemutu".

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"It is a place where our people can move into and build and have the opportunity to build.

"We believe as a trust that we haven't had that opportunity a lot in the past... but there are further opportunities now our Ngāti Whakaue structure is getting stronger."

He said the Whittaker Rd proposal would take away residential space from the tangata whenua.

"At the moment we have a housing shortage in Rotorua, we have a lot of homelessness.

"When these spaces are taken out of residential zones for tourism activities... Who are we looking after here?"

Dennis Paul, Te Koutu trustee and marae spokesman, refers to his notes at the hearing. Photo / Samantha Olley
Dennis Paul, Te Koutu trustee and marae spokesman, refers to his notes at the hearing. Photo / Samantha Olley

The trust also believed the development would increase the amount of rubbish and stormwater in and around the lake, and traffic in the Whittaker Rd area, more than residential housing would.

"The lake is our life source and it has been damaged for many years," Paul said.

He said River and Stone Holdings' spoken promises of community benefits were "pretty much fruitless" unless they were written down.

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He said the kōrero of the marae was "you have got to go stop this".

Five of the nine accommodation buildings proposed would be single-storey and four would be two-storey.

There would be one manager's unit on top of the 29 for visitors.

The site of the proposed development on Whittaker Rd. Photo / File
The site of the proposed development on Whittaker Rd. Photo / File

The proposal also includes decking around the units, a sunken seating area with a firepit, a timber deck area linked to a refurbished jetty and a swimming pool.

Gavin Shi director and shareholder of River and Stone said the job opportunities the proposal would create related to housekeeping, onsite management and cleaners.

"In terms of the location, I think it's better to have an onsite manager who can maintain the land as well and make sure there isn't any rubbish... that's better than housing with individual owners."

Gang (Gavin) Shi, director and shareholder of River and Stone Holdings Ltd. Photo / Samantha Olley
Gang (Gavin) Shi, director and shareholder of River and Stone Holdings Ltd. Photo / Samantha Olley

He said the site had previously been used as a campground.

Todd Langwell, River and Stone's consultant transport planner, expected the proposal would create about 87 vehicle movements a day, including 12 an hour at peak times such as check-in and check-out times.

He said there could be parking spillover on to the street during holidays and weekends.

Wasley's decision on the consent application is expected in the coming weeks.

This is not the first time Koutu residents have fought a proposed development in their suburb.

In 2016 they fought an application made by Bonway Investment Ltd to build a multimillion-dollar hotel on Bennetts Rd.

The resource consent for the 100-room, four star hotel, which would have been considerably larger than the surrounding residential houses, was later declined by a panel of commissioners.