A question mark hangs over whether Methven’s much lauded film studio will end up going ahead, with developers having gone quiet.
Ashburton District councillor Ken Lowe, who has been working closely with developers to get a suitable site, said while it would be wrong to say the project was “finished”, it appeared to be “sitting still for a bit at this point in time.”
He understood developers were still keen to come here but did not know whether they intended to pursue the project.
He said he would be “very, very disappointed” if the project did not proceed.
“It’s going to be so exciting for Mt Hutt Village Methven really. It was going to be tremendous for the town.”
He said the area of Methven would be a good South Island location for such a studio, and the facility would have created around 300 jobs.
Ashburton District Council chief executive Brian Lester, who has also been working closely with developers, said the last step he knew they had taken was last month in consulting with film industry contacts in China to investigate possible business.
“We are certainly keen to see it happen,” he said of the studio.
“It still could be working away, that’s why I would not be wanting to make comments one way or the other,” he said.
The Guardian understands Dynasty Group, which owns Methven Dynasty Resort Hotel, was looking at establishing the studio on a site on the outskirts of town on Line Road. The group turned their attentions to the site after failing to gain consent on land next door to the hotel.
Methven Community Board chairman Martin Nordqvist said he would like to see developers who come to town and want to establish new facilities, to hang in there and see their projects through to completion.
He said both the film studio project and another proposed development in town of an ice-cream parlour, had both hit stumbling blocks when going through Ashburton District Council resource consent processes.
In the case of the ice-cream parlour, Australian developer Ken Mundy decided to abandon the project after a council planner said she would not recommend the project go ahead in its full form.
Mr Nordqvist said council rules and by-laws in any area had to be abided by, and developers should realise that.
“Obviously when the going gets tough it looks as though they have walked away from it rather than carry on with it, which is a shame,” Mr Nordqvist said.
“Methven and Mt Hutt could have done with both of those projects, I thought we were working along quietly to get both of them off the ground.”
Dynasty Group did not answer Guardian queries January 15 2008.