Council faces challenge at final meeting

Mike Theelen.
Mike Theelen.
Lime Scooters, smoke-free beaches, and the contentious Queenstown Airport Corporation’s statement of intent are among the 11 public items on the last Queenstown Lakes District Council agenda for the year.

In relation to the latter, council chief executive Mike Theelen said the council would be asked to appoint a steering group, comprising representatives from it and the airport corporation to work on a ‘‘shared understanding of council expectations and QAC’s intentions’’.

Mr Theelen said the ‘‘challenging decision’’ for the council tomorrow would ‘‘create a perception’’ the council was not representing community wishes.

However, that could ‘‘not be further from the truth’’.

The council would be asked to receive the modified airport statement of intent, as approved by the council in August, which would ‘‘draw an important line in the sand’’.

‘‘We are acutely aware that there will be some genuine concern that if we act on the advice to follow due process and agree the amended [statement of intent], we in some way compromise the outcomes we seek.

‘‘If we are to follow the process prescribed by the Local Government Act, there is no choice but to either agree the 2019 [statement] or seek to amend it again.

‘‘The recommendation is to put our collective energies into the new document, due in March 2020.’’

Mr Theelen said the council had sought an ‘‘emphatic reassurance’’ from the airport corporation it would work in good faith with the council on a new statement of intent to reflect concerns raised during the year.

‘‘By fulfilling our legal obligations this week, we are not in some way enabling the QAC to step away from explicit undertakings to our community,’’ Mr Theelen said.

Meanwhile, the council would also be asked to approve a six-month trial of 400 Lime scooters in Queenstown, which involved a host of proposed controls, including operational hours.

Property and infrastructure general manager Peter Hansby said the trial would, in part, test if the Wakatipu’s infrastructure was suitable for the commercial e-scooter operation.

The council will also discuss a trial of smoke-free beaches in Queenstown, Frankton, Glenorchy and Wanaka. If approved, the focus would be on education rather than punitive measures and come into effect on Monday, running until March 31, 2020.

Two items will be discussed behind closed doors tomorrow - the chief executive’s report, and an item entitled ‘‘Alternative car parking, Queenstown: request for proposals’’.

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