Temporary loss of more parking

Queenstown will lose 15 more downtown car parking spaces to tourism heavyweights for the summer - at a reduced cost.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council took flak last year after striking a deal with Fergburger to pave over three parks outside the popular eatery.

Now it has given the go-ahead for Skyline to block off 13 spaces on Marine Pde for months during construction of its new $6million building. Skyline will pay $10 per park per day.

And Beach Street Holdings Ltd, owned by NZSki major shareholder Sir John Davies, will use two parks on upper Beach St during its five-month construction project. It will pay $15 per park per day.

Pay-and-display parking in the small CBD is $2 per hour.

Wilkinsons Pharmacy owner Kim Wilkinson said nearby businesses and the Chamber of Commerce were given no notification about the Skyline takeover.

The prime parks were fenced off on Monday.

Mr Wilkinson said: ''It's a necessary evil we know, but some warning or just communication would have been good. The only people who seem to be aware of it are the property committee that signed it off.

''It will affect our business. We don't even know how long it will go on.''

Mr Wilkinson estimates the benefit to a businesses of a single CBD car park is about $260,000 a year.

''Skyline is paying about $47,000 per year for 13.''

Queenstown Lakes District Council chief executive Adam Feeley said the fees were being reconsidered.

He said major construction projects in downtown Queenstown presented space challenges.

The options were to confine construction and associated activities to the site or allow some extension on to public space.

Mr Feeley said: ''The former may often cause significant additional costs to a project and therefore there is an attempt to balance competing public and private interests with a licence to occupy some public space.''

Skyline chief executive Jeff Staniland said he had not ''turned his mind'' to whether the company was getting a good deal on the car parks.

''The contractors need somewhere to base themselves as we fill up the site with the building.

''There are lots of parks, [multi-storeys] on Church St, Man St, and the only business on Marine Parade is Eichardt's [Hotel].''

Mr Staniland said the construction should be completed in the first quarter of next year and the project signed off in the second.

New lobby group Downtown QT hopes to ''pedestrianise'' the whole of upper Beach St as a trial at some point next year.

Downtown QT general manager Steve Wilde said the days of people parking at the door of a downtown business could be numbered.

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