Resort transport strategy unveiled

NZ Transport Agency southern regional director Jim Harland (right) speaks at a public meeting in...
NZ Transport Agency southern regional director Jim Harland (right) speaks at a public meeting in Queenstown last night, watched (right to left) by Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult, Otago Regional Council chief executive Stephen Woodhead and Queenstown Airport chief executive Colin Keel. Photo: Guy Williams
A radical vision for upgrading Queenstown’s transport infrastructure over the next 30 years was unveiled at a public meeting in the resort this week.

Organised by the Frankton Community Association, the meeting was the first chance for most in the 100-strong audience to see details of the newly released Queenstown Integrated Transport Strategy.

NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) southern regional director Jim Harland outlined plans for how the Wakatipu Basin’s transport infrastructure was expected to be transformed over the next three decades in response to projected continuing high growth of the Wakatipu’s resident population in addition to visitor numbers.

The strategy culminates with the construction of a "mass rapid transit" system — a gondola — running between Frankton and the town centre from 2045.

It also includes an extended water taxi service, beginning in 2019, which would evolve by 2023 into a full-scale ferry operation encompassing the Kawarau River, Frankton Arm, Queenstown Bay and around the Kelvin Peninsula to Jacks Point and Hanleys Farm.

Work on a town centre arterial route is planned to begin in 2022, and the development of a town centre transport hub to start the following year.

The town centre could be fully pedestrianised from 2026, and Frankton Golf Club is likely to be moved from its present site by State Highway 6 to another location.

The strategy has been developed by the NZTA in collaboration with a cross-agency transport governance group that includes representatives from the Queenstown Lakes District Council and Otago Regional Council.

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said the district’s population would double every 10 years at the current rate of growth.

He had recently been told Queenstown was the second-fastest growing centre in the southern hemisphere.

"We can’t stop people moving here if they can find a place to live in, so we have to crank up the infrastructure."

The council adopted the Queenstown Integrated Transport Strategy as the district’s main transport strategy last month.

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