Remarkables Park developer Alistair Porter says a prominent
Queenstown accountant who is lobbying for a convention centre
in the resort's CBD has got his facts wrong.
Mr Porter, who plans to start building a convention centre
next to the Remarkables Park shopping centre in 2016, said he
was surprised Crowe Horwath managing principal for Central
Otago Duncan Fea had entered the debate without talking to
Remarkables Park Ltd about its proposal.
Mr Fea had made ''a number of factual inaccuracies and
incomplete statements'' about the issue, Mr Porter said.
This week, Mr Fea emailed a ''Queenstown Convention Centre
Q&A'' to several hundred contacts. The email raises and
rebuts criticisms of the Queenstown Lakes District Council's
proposal to build a convention centre at Lakeview.
Among the points raised, Mr Fea says all residents would
benefit from a convention centre even though businesses would
contribute about two-thirds of its cost.
A convention centre in Frankton would not attract
''high-end'' conventions and would face challenges moving
attendees from CBD hotels to the venue. A convention centre
on the Lakeview site would help revitalise the CBD, he said.
A ''conservative estimate'' was that a council-run centre
could break even in its third year and make an annual
operating surplus of at least $500,000 in its fifth year.
''In short, the Frankton proposal is about what's good for a
private developer wishing to develop a large-scale
residential and commercial development,'' Mr Fea writes.
''The Queenstown convention centre is about building
something that is good for the whole community and
revitalising our CBD.''
Mr Porter said the community would derive similar economic
benefits from a convention centre whether the community or
Remarkables Park paid for it.
''We are not sure why Mr Fea prefers a socialist model where
the ratepayers have to provide and pay for these services, as
opposed to the private sector.''
The council's proposal had CBD businesses paying only 35% of
the cost, yet there was ''no legitimate basis'' for
households in the district or businesses outside the CBD
paying for it.
The Lakeview site was not an easy walk from the CBD.
Conference attendees would face a climb of 80 vertical metres
from the waterfront. Lakeview was also a 1.1km walk from the
Novotel hotel and 1.5km from the Millennium and Copthorne
hotels, he said.
Mr Porter also questioned Mr Fea's forecast of a $500,000
surplus by year five ''when the council's own information
does not support this''.