QLDC accepts Ferg's $100k offer
The Queenstown Lakes District Council yesterday said yes to a meaty $100,000 offer by tourist magnet Fergburger.
The world-famous Shotover St burger joint and bakery offered the council a six-figure financial morsel to alleviate pedestrian congestion outside the premises.
Fergburger general manager Stephen Bradley said the business was prepared to gift the costs of capital works to improve the street and enhance safety.
Ferg had more "excellent" reviews on travel website TripAdvisor than many restaurants in major cities around the world, including several in London and Paris, he said.
"All sorts of groups and people meet and wait here. The expansion into Mrs Ferg [a third store beside Fergbaker and Fergburger] is part of bringing business vitality."
Expanding the business meant up to 20 jobs and growing an exclusively Queenstown brand at no cost to the council.
Commercial landlord Johnny Stevenson, of Westwood Group, said the firm owned buildings on either side of Ferg and there was no other solution to congestion on the table.
However, Wilkinson's Pharmacy owner Kim Wilkinson said he was concerned about the potential loss of three car parks.
"I have a great admiration for the product. This proposal is wrong on many counts. To pay $100,000 to develop and expand on ratepayers' land is wrong."
The Queenstown Chamber of Commerce was against the plan because of the loss of parking spaces in the CBD.
Councillor Mel Gazzard voted against the plan, saying the land value was probably $500,000, and Cr Simon Stamers-Smith said he thought it was improper to agree to the proposal for the benefit of a commercial business.
Chief engineer Ulrich Glasner and transport manager Denis Mander told councillors road safety and pedestrian safety were paramount considerations. A majority of councillors passed the motion.
The company plans to widen the footpath and improve the precinct with seating and landscaping.
The Southland Times