Visitor tax draws criticism

Following its hearing in Wanaka earlier this week, the Queenstown Lakes District Council heard yesterday from a range of Queenstown submitters to the 10-year plan.

A highly discussed topic was the visitor tax, and submitter Michael Legge's opposition received more than a few laughs from councillors.

Mr Legge opened his oral submission by drawing attention to the duck-shooting season and the comparison that, like ducks, ratepayers were being targeted by the council.

Visitors, he said, left a lot of excrement and perhaps council should consider renaming it "excrement tax".

Cr John Mann proclaimed it was "the best submission we've had".

Among other oral submissions was that of Fiona McKissock, of Lakes Leisure, contesting the reprioritisation of four sports fields, covered courts and a stadium extension.

In her submission, Ms McKissock said the stadium extension "has been pushed out to 2015-16 from the previous timing of 2012-13.

"We are concerned that if the project does not proceed we will not be able to provide for community demand and there will be increasing dissatisfaction from sports users."

Cr Lyall Cocks said the funding versus demand situation was interesting and he thought demand would "plateau at some point".

The council also heard from St Joseph's School and parish regarding the proposed Melbourne St traffic bypass which would run "directly in front" of the school and church.

St Joseph's School board chairwoman Gigi Hollyer raised concerns of increased traffic and heavy vehicles polluting the school with noise, and the risks if children went to chase a ball that had gone over the fence.

"No matter how many times you tell them, kids will chase them."

The Rev Tony Harrison reiterated Ms Hollyer's points and added that there was concern traffic vibrations would destroy church foundations.

The 10-year plan outlines which services the council would provide for the period from 2012-22. In total, 293 submissions were received and 63 individuals elected to provide oral submissions in conjunction with their written ones.

Submissions on the plan closed on Monday, May 7, and a final plan would be adopted June 26.


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