Councillors back marina proposal

The developers of a multimillion-dollar marina in Queenstown envisage an eco-style project with commercial potential for boaties from all walks of life.

Queenstown Lakes District councillors gave support to developer Lakes Marina Project, run by director Alan Kirker and his business partners, Californian brothers Iraj and Nasser Barabi, on Tuesday.

Their vision is still with the planners but Nasser Barabi, speaking to The Southland Times, said the project aimed to provide a state-of-the-art marina in keeping with the New Zealand environment and the potential market.

Many residents of Queenstown were boat owners elsewhere and a modern marina in the district would spur people, visitors and residents, to moor boats here, he said.

The firm's plans envisage a two-stage development of up to 200 berths in 100-berth lots, infilling swampy land at the Frankton marina for car and bus parking and building an offshore marina with in-shore connections behind a breakwater.

Asked whether the marina occupancy rates were viable, Mr Nasser said it was a question of supply and demand and a somewhat chicken and egg scenario.

Many boat owners were either residents or visitors but with nowhere modern to moor boats, so once the marina was operational occupancy would follow.

Lakes Marina Project's expression of interest said stage one's 100 berths included 85 for small and medium-sized boats, 10 for larger craft and five for large yachts.

Small marine-related offices were included in the plan, to complement existing business and enhance marina commerce.

Mr Kirker said Queenstown-based businesses were already expressing interest in acquiring moorings for branded boats.

Many Queenstown boaties favoured in-shore berths and the development of swampy land at the existing marina, which developers have put in design plans.

Last year, councillors cancelled an agreement with a preferred developer, Queenstown Marina Developments, after it missed deadlines. Another firm withdrew its proposal.

The Southland Times