Two agencies representing Queenstown's tourism,
commercial and industrial sectors are urging Queenstown Lakes
District councillors to vote to proceed with the council's
convention centre proposal today.
Destination Queenstown chairman Mark Quickfall said a
convention centre on the Lakeview site would be a
''world-class, fit-for-purpose development'' in the right
If councillors abandoned the project, it would be ''dead in
''If we fail to keep this project alive now then we will be
stealing this opportunity from our future generations.
''Queenstown must strike now and complete full due diligence
while central government and the industry are investing in
growing the high-value convention sector.
''Imagine if Queenstown had voted down the Events Centre all
those years ago - it's hard to believe there was a strong
possibility of that happening at the time.''
Voting to proceed with the project was not locking the
council into building a convention centre, just the next step
in a process.
''I think you've got to be very careful not to confuse the
situation because someone has decided to build [a convention
centre] in Frankton.''
Both proposals required more time to do due diligence, but
were completely different in the sense that Remarkables Park
Ltd's proposal was a private one.
''They're putting the money up and only have to deal with
their own shareholders or investors, whereas [the Lakeview
proposal] is being led by the council on behalf of the
Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chairman Charlie Phillips said
the council's proposal was supported by the tourism and
hospitality sectors as well as ''a wide range of sectors
represented by the chamber''.
''We are confident that the benefits to the region's
businesses and community will far outweigh the rate
contribution being considered,'' he said.
There was not yet enough information about the Remarkables
Park project to make a judgement on it, and he did not want
to get involved in a ''slanging match'' between the competing
However, the chamber's preference was for the conference
centre to be located in the CBD.
''When you come to a convention in Queenstown, you want to be
within walking distance of town.''
Remarkables Park Ltd CEO and director Alastair Porter said
the parallel drawn by Mr Quickfall with the Queenstown Events
Centre was ''incredibly apt'', but not for the reason
intended. An even more vigorous debate took place two decades
ago about whether to build the Events Centre in Queenstown or
Frankton, and no-one was complaining about its location now,
''I understand [Destination Queenstown's] point of view
because there's currently more action in the CBD than at
Remarkables Park, but this convention centre will be with us
for 50 years.''
In that time Queenstown's population would treble, and its
largest centre of commerce - ''as a result of the council's
own planning changes'' - would be at Frankton and Remarkables
''We don't want the CBD to end up like some of the tourist
centres in Europe - so congested and overbuilt that they
become unattractive,'' Mr Porter said.
The council's report for today's meeting was misleading
councillors and the community by manipulating the case for a
convention centre at Lakeview.
Mr Porter challenged it to commission an ''independent''
survey of the community relating to convention centre issues.