'Coherent' plan wanted for CBD

The reasoning behind moves to expand Queenstown's CBD, which would ensure the council's proposed $60 million convention centre got "downtown" status, were spelled out yesterday.

Queenstown Lakes District Council chief executive officer Adam Feeley said yesterday the main purpose of the proposed plan change was to enable the development of Queenstown's CBD in a coherent and well-planned manner.

The move was signalled at a full council meeting last month when a council vote of six for and three against swung convention centre progress into action.

The moves included securing capital funding over and above the $32.5 million proposed council contribution to the convention centre.

Feeley said the zoning change was an "independent and wholly separate process" from the council's investigations into whether a convention centre should be built on a prime, council-owned site known as Lakeview.

Rezoning could also enable part of the site to be used for high-density residential development, which would help ease the local housing shortage, Feeley said.

Speaking from a hotel conference in Sydney, Remarkables Park director Alastair Porter, who last month applied for resource consent to build a privately bankrolled $30m convention centre on land owned by the company on Queenstown's Frankton Flats, said there were still unanswered questions on whether the Lakeview site was necessary or appropriate for inclusion in an expanded CBD zone. "The town centre is already congested, so how are the traffic effects on the existing town centre, the proposed extension and for Frankton Rd going to be handled," he said.

Extending space for further retail and commercial space in the town centre could negatively impact the existing Queenstown town centre and the other retail centres in the area.

Porter was confident close scrutiny of the Resource Management Act would give fair and accurate guidelines on whether CBD expansion to include the Lakeview site was a reasonable move. grant.bryant@stl.co.nz

The Southland Times