CBD may be affected most by rates rise

Those living in the Queenstown CBD may be the focus of a targeted rates rise. Photo: ODT files
Those living in the Queenstown CBD may be the focus of a targeted rates rise. Photo: ODT files
The general manager of a Queenstown lobby group believes a proposed targeted rate to help fund the Queenstown town centre masterplan will make some "squeal loudly".

However, DowntownQT's Steve Wilde believes Queenstown has never had a louder voice or more compelling case for government funding.

This week, the Queenstown Lakes District Council released its draft long-term plan which outlines almost $1billion of capital work which will be required over the next decade.

Subject to approval at today's full council meeting in Queenstown, it will be released for public consultation.

It includes a proposed new targeted rate for the Wakatipu ward to help fund the $327.7million town centre masterplan, most keenly felt by property owners within the "wider Queenstown CBD".

The rates rise per year would be between 1.4% and 30.3%.

Mr Wilde said 65% of proposed rates would be paid by CBD ratepayers under the proposed plan and the "absolute worst-case scenario" was the Government did not contribute.

Under that scenario, a large hotel could be paying an extra $55,000 a year, while some smaller businesses, "already on a knife edge", could struggle.

"There will be some businesses shocked by this ... but I think we all recognise this has all got to be done," Mr Wilde said.

"We are all, every single business in the town centre, looking to Wellington [to help]. This is in the national interest, really.

"It's not just about upgrading the town centre for local businesses ... it's about making sure this works for New Zealand's national tourism proposition.

"The Government is going to have to look at us and say: `How can we help you?'."

Good Group board chairman Russell Gray said while "nobody" wanted to pay increased costs, the company accepted "significant investment" was required within the district to ensure infrastructure and services were at a level comensurate with visitor and resident populations.

He agreed the Government needed to "stump up".

"We accept there needs to be significant investment into ongoing infrastructure in Queenstown to cope ... we would also strongly suggest that Government needs to play its part, given it reaps the benefit of a significant [amount] of funds from Queenstown from GST, income tax and PAYE.

"I'm sure that Queenstown Lakes District Council will be making the appropriate representations to central Government, because they do actually have to support the place."

Comments

The only people who should not have to pay to renovate the CBD are the mum and dad ratepayers of the area. THE CBD is a purely commercial propostion and those those who have benfited and will continue to do so should be directly responsible for its upkeep.

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