March decision on centre tipped by Feeley

Adam Feeley
Adam Feeley
The long-awaited decision on whether ratepayers' money will be committed to the proposed $50 million Queenstown convention centre could be made next March.

Queenstown Lakes District Council chief executive Adam Feeley says the decision will be made by councillors - half of whom are newly elected - who next week would be given documents about the centre to add to their Christmas reading lists.

The documents include options for a master plan for the development of a centre at a site known as Lakeview above the resort's centre, resource consent options and issues for the site, possible transport implications and infrastructure issues which may arise from the centre.

Earlier this year Mr Feeley said if everything went to plan, the foundations for the centre at Lakeview could be laid at the beginning of 2015, but yesterday he reiterated that because the council had yet to commit to the project and half of the councillors were new, that was unlikely.

''At the earliest [a decision] could be made in March,'' Mr Feeley said yesterday. The first sod could be turned about a year and a-half later.

Come March, councillors could decide instead to defer the project and he added some councillors were ''further down'' the decision-making track than others.

In September, before the local body elections, councillors voted unanimously to keep the dream of a convention centre for the CBD alive.

They voted in support of the Lakeview proposal, resolving the council would lead the development, subject to Government funding and the council's approving a master plan, business plan and a preferred rating model to fund the council's contribution.

The same day they voted, Remarkables Park co-director Alastair Porter spoke at the extraordinary council meeting's public forum, vowing to a lodge consent application for a competing centre he had publicly proposed for Frankton the day before.

Yesterday, Mr Porter said Remarkables Park expected to file a consent application for its centre ''in the early part of 2014''.