Warning not to cut centre costs too far

Adam Feeley.
Adam Feeley.
Consultants are warning the Queenstown Lakes District Council against pruning costs to the point where its proposed convention centre becomes ''a box''.

Last week, the councillors voted 5-3 in favour of progressing the council's convention centre. Opposed were Wanaka councillors Calum MacLeod and Ella Lawton, along with Wakatipu ward councillor Cath Gilmour.

In favour were Wakatipu councillors Alexa Forbes, Craig Ferguson, Merv Aoake, Arrowtown's Lex Perkins and Wanaka's Lyal Cocks.

Absent from that meeting were Mel Gazzard and Simon Stamers-Smith.

The issue of costs was discussed at the meeting and chief executive Adam Feeley said there were several options open to the council to manage costs. One was to stage development, another was to look at ''value management'' by removing some of the ''nice to haves''.

Last Friday, Mr Feeley said he met consultants, including quantity surveyors, representatives of a convention company and members of the design team, to discuss several matters, including ''cost and scale''.

While it was possible to remove some design elements from the proposed centre to lower the costs, there was a danger of presenting ''the same proposition as ... Remarkables Park''.

''[The advice we've received is they] could not advise us to take cost out in a way that we end up with a box.''

Remarkables Park Ltd co-director Alastair Porter lodged consent for a conference centre at a Frankton site earlier last week, submitting it could be processed on a non-notified basis.

When asked, Mr Feeley said it did not have to be an ''either-or'' because the centres were likely to attract different markets.

''It [the RPL proposal] might be a smaller venue, it will certainly be a different type of venue ... it's probably unlikely that they would jointly operate.

''The reality is ... it's fundamental for us [the council] to compete against a Cairns or a Darwin ... that we're of a competitive standard to Auckland.

''I suspect with Lakeview going ahead RPL would be astute enough to go out and find a bit of the market where we're not competing.''

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