Gigatown trumps independence

A group intent on making Wanaka independent of the Queenstown Lakes District Council has changed tack for the moment.

In September last year, Wanaka resident and former Christchurch city councillor Graham Berry told the Otago Daily Times he represented a core group of five people working on a privately funded proposal for an independent Wanaka.

The group at that time was close to appointing a consultant to carry out an independent review of the proposal and to create a ''definitive document about how the financials stack up''.

However, in response to recent ODT inquiries, Mr Berry said efforts were now ''entirely devoted to the Gigatown competition''.

Wanaka is the leading town in the social media Gigatown competition being run by telecommunications infrastructure company Chorus.

''While we are confident a smaller local council is achievable and the best way for our future, right now we don't want anything to distract from Gigatown,'' Mr Berry said.

He considered Wanaka was likely to grow by about 5000 people before the next census and that rate of growth meant Wanaka having its own council would be ''essential and inevitable''.

''We are confident Wanaka can and should have its own governance and will continue work on that after Wanaka has won the Gigatown competition.''

- mark.price@odt.co.nz