Parking plan puts horse before cart

Queenstown's regional tourism organisation (RTO) says parking in the district’s just "one piece of the puzzle" and believes Queenstown’s council, and others, need to take a more holistic view.

In Destination Queenstown’s (DQ) submission on the council’s draft parking strategy, it says the RTO "strongly supports" an objective to encourage mode shift and reduce congestion, but notes access to "quality public transport options" is key to that.

Destination Queenstown CEO Mat Woods. PHOTO: ARCHIVE
Destination Queenstown CEO Mat Woods. PHOTO: ARCHIVE
DQ chief executive Mat Woods said for council to simply look at parking in isolation "is a bit limited".

"If we are changing — which could be reducing parking or allocating it to certain people — how do we move everyone else around the district?"

He says the bigger picture must be considered, with a particular focus on public transport, believing the existing option, Orbus, is inadequate.

"There’s probably not enough of them, they’re old, tired buses, they’re not actually the most low-emission buses you can get."

Woods says improvements also need to be made to make them as easy as possible for people to use — for example, abandoning the Bee Card and enabling anyone to pay for trips using a credit card, and introducing variable messaging signs, particularly at Queenstown Airport, so visitors, in particular, know how far away a bus is, and if there’s capacity on it.

In a separate submission, to Otago Regional Council’s public transport business case survey, DQ’s also promoted a dedicated airport to CBD express transfer, "such as zero-emission bus, ferry or ropeway [gondola]".

Woods tells Mountain Scene there are already proposals for gondolas in Queenstown, which could easily be used as public transport alternatives, and would remove congestion from the roads.

Lake Whakatipu’s also "incredibly under-utilised", and active transport needs to be factored in to future plans.

"To think about parking in isolation isn’t right; we’ve got to think about how we move people around the district," he says.

"We don’t have the solution around transport yet [to focus only on parking]."