Survey highlights what you think

"This place is incredible" ... Irish Rugby World Cup captain Brian O'Driscoll reminds Queenstown...
"This place is incredible" ... Irish Rugby World Cup captain Brian O'Driscoll reminds Queenstown residents why they choose to live in Wakatipu. Photo by Emily Adamson.
In this week's Wakatipu Echo, Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden discusses the results of an online survey discussing the "big issues" in our community.

As Irish Rugby World Cup captain Brian O'Driscoll gazed upon Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables, he murmured "this place is incredible".

Our adopted Irish sons (especially while they are winning) reminded us why we live here.

Earlier this month, the council tapped into the community to find out what it thought the big issues were.

We asked the question online and 109 residents and ratepayers took the time to tell us.

We did this because we are at the point where we need to figure out what the big issues are in the 2012, 10-year plan.

When the council produces a 10-year plan, which it must do every three years, it has to decide what the big issues are and engage with the community over them.

The results from the online survey have been really interesting and will provide valuable input to the decisions we need to start making as we prepare the draft plan for consultation in April 2012.

I want to personally thank the 109 people who took the time to give us their thoughts.

On the whole, it was intelligent, informed and thought-provoking.

It's on the council website - - if you want to have a read.

The recurring theme is environmental protection, at grass-roots level and globally.

Peak oil planning even gets a mention.

A similar theme is coming through in the Shaping Our Future district-wide visioning forums.

There's a strong awareness that our environment is what makes us unique.

The district plan review, which will dovetail into the 10-year plan process, will, hopefully, generate high levels of interest and engagement.

The environment, as an issue, is closely followed by infrastructure.

Sustainable water supply and roading are on the minds of our residents and ratepayers.

Value for money and affordability comes through, and interestingly, a concern that the council must ensure the infrastructure is aligned with growth.

In a career-first for this mayor, we even had one resident call on us to increase rates.

They logically argued that sometimes you need to spend money to make and save money.

Other matters highlighted included development, refuse and recycling, community well-being and safety and issues around Lakes Environmental, namely bringing it back in-house. Several people called on the council to ban fast-food outlets, while others called for a convention centre, water metering, more street cleaners, free wi-fi zones, more trails, council support for keas and more trees.

I particularly liked this comment: "That Queenstown remain a safe, environmentally conscious and desirable destination and place to reside."

Thank you for that.

One thing that this survey - and other opportunities that I take to hear from our community - constantly reinforces, is that this is a community that cares a great deal about the district in which we live, the welfare of the people who live in it and the importance of preserving it for generations to come.

Thank you again to those who took the time to have a say.

We are the stewards of something incredible and long may our visitors remind us.

By Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van Uden.



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