Swiss system for resort rating worth a look

The last of the WWT cloud photos. A vivid cirrus and altocumulus sunrise over Dunedin and Mount...
The last of the WWT cloud photos. A vivid cirrus and altocumulus sunrise over Dunedin and Mount Cargill in March this year. PHOTO: MARTYN FIELDS
Well, that's the opinion of former Otago Regional councillor Louise Croot, who passed on to me a paper she wrote after a visit to the Swiss village of Grindelwald in the Bernese Alps in 2005.

Louise went to Switzerland all those years ago to investigate a system of rating based on water and wastewater infrastructure, ``more elegant than a bed tax'', that might have potential for Queenstown.

``It needs a different way of rating and this might slow the development and allow a small rating base population to not feel overwhelmed,'' she says.

Grindelwald - which has a five communities council for its population of about 4000 - adopted a rating system called an inhabitant equivalent value, or bewohnergleichwert, or ``BW'', covering all homes, including those not used permanently, as well as hotels and restaurants, offices, shops, workplaces, caravans and camping grounds, and water-based leisure centres.

At the time of her visit, each residential room was taxed at the rate of one Swiss franc per week, so the owners of an eight-roomed house would pay 416 Swiss francs a year. Hotels paid at the same room BW rate for each bed and restaurants had a charge of 1 BW a week for each three chairs in place.

Louise says she has sent the report to various agencies in Queenstown and nationally, including MPs and local government members, but has had little response.

Does anyone out there have any views on such an approach?

Talking of rates...

Ian Arthur of Dunedin is querying his rates bill.

``Why do we have to pay a Wilding Trees Rate and a River Management Rate, or for Leith flood works?

How long does it take you to work out what this is? PHOTO: MAUREEN HOWARD
How long does it take you to work out what this is? PHOTO: MAUREEN HOWARD
``We live in Waldronville - there's no wilding trees or rivers out here, and the Leith is about 15km away.''

I've also had a couple of calls from readers objecting to being called ``Otagonians'' in some regional council rates information.

You might remember we raised concerns about this invented word some months ago, but it seems to be only now that it has begun irritating true, blue ``Otagoites''.

July 1939 snow

A few more memories of Dunedin's big snow in July 1939.

Tom Garbutt (96) visited our Oamaru branch last week to talk about the big fall.

``All of the transport was halted between Dunedin and Christchurch,'' Tom said, ``including road and rail.

``The snow stayed for about two weeks, as all of the cuttings were filled with wind-blown snow.

``A feature of the period was the unusual quiet caused by the snow. Not even the birds were singing.

``In Dunedin, some university students took to the sledges that were used by Scott's Antarctic expedition and used them to take medical supplies to the hospital at Wakari.''

I've enjoyed your snowy recollections so feel free to keep them coming.

 

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