Lakeview resident Gladys Manuel makes a point at a public
hearing on Queenstown's proposed convention centre
yesterday. Photo by Mountain Scene.
People worried an affordable housing precinct in
Queenstown will be lost implored the Queenstown Lakes District
Council yesterday not to allow a proposed $50 million
convention centre to be built on the Lakeview land where more
than 100 people live in low-rent cabins.
Next Tuesday, the Queenstown Lakes District Council will
decide the proposed convention centre's fate. A total of 748
submissions were received on the proposal and 31 people spoke
to their submissions at a hearing yesterday.
The council has announced the Lakeview land is the preferred
site for the centre. However, Gladys Manuel, one of many
submitters opposing the use of Lakeview for the centre, said
she lived there and many families living in the cabins were
Most worked in the tourism industry, she said, and their
salaries would not be high enough to allow them to move out
of Queenstown into places like Arrowtown.
Another Lakeview resident, Peti Seiuli, asked councillors to
put ''people before profits''.
Just one month before the local government election, the
existing council will make the important decision.
Some opponents say the centre would become a white elephant
while others claim the resort is in desperate need of such a
centre, as it is missing out on large conferences.
Glenorchy resident Trish Fraser said she was not opposed to a
convention centre but the proposal ''is certainly an election
issue'' and such a centre should not be funded by ratepayers.
That sentiment was echoed by many others.
She was also one of many who criticised the council's
consultation process, saying it was inadequate; others said
it was misleading.
Wanaka resident Denis Pezaro said the district's residents
and ratepayers had paid for Queenstown's amenities and ''it
is time for the visitors to make their contribution''.
However, he urged the council to continue planning the
The council has previously identified SkyCity Entertainment
Group as the preferred operator.
As expected, references to the convention centre yesterday
were greeted by positive comments from representatives of
groups such as Destination Queenstown, the Queenstown Airport
Corporation and the Tourism Industry Association.
The council has identified three possible sites, all
council-owned, but chief executive Adam Feeley has previously
said advice he had received had been to disregard the Stanley
St and Gorge Rd sites in favour of the Lakeview site.