'Spatial plan' to be 'guiding document'

A glimpse of a plan that will chart the Lakes district's future over the next 30 years and beyond has been revealed for the first time.

The "spatial plan" has been kept under wraps by the Queenstown Lakes District Council for months and the public still has another six weeks to wait for details to begin emerging.

However, earlier this week, lead planner Anita Vanstone and governance, engagement and communications manager Naell Crosby-Roe provided some insight into the plan, designed to create a "strategic direction" for the district.

It is a consequence of the Government's national policy statement on urban development - which recognises the Lakes district as a high-growth region - and of the Queenstown Lakes District Council's call for a visitor levy to help pay for infrastructure.

Ms Vanstone said the spatial plan would be the "guiding document" for the district, incorporating such matters as housing, land use, transport, walking and cycling, social infrastructure, open space and business - "looking at the overall big picture".

"What it does is, it just sets up the backbone and guidance for our community to say actually this is how we want to grow."

As well as such things as the availability of shops and services in townships, it would address issues such as the medium to long-term shortage of industrial land and constraints on growth, Ms Vanstone said.

"A really interesting fact about our district is 97% of it is located within an outstanding natural landscape or is an outstanding natural feature, so that's a really big constraint for us, in terms of development potential."

Ms Vanstone said the council was working with a "highly engaged" Government, with about 30 "key agencies", including utility providers, attending workshops.

"It's an opportunity for everyone to be around the table and to be thinking collaboratively," she said.

Mr Crosby-Roe said the first round of public consultation would be in late October and November and formal consultation in the first half of next year.

As an example of the value of the spatial plan, Mr Crosby-Roe used public transport.

"If you want more public transport, does that mean you have to grow upwards ... to actually justify it? Because public transport comes at a cost and there has to be an appropriate business case for the NZ Transport Agency to invest in that. So it's helping understand the relationship between those things."

Ms Vanstone said the Central Otago District Council was one of the "key parties" involved in the preparation of the spatial plan.

Urban Development Minister Phil Twyford is due to deliver a speech about the spatial plan and infrastructure matters, at a Queenstown Chamber of Commerce lunch today.

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