OPINION | A Downtown Masterplan for Wanaka

Lake Wanaka. Photo: Nikki Heath / Wanaka Sun

OPINION

QLDC Mayor Jim Boult focuses on the issues facing Wanaka and surrounds in our new monthly column.

In an earlier Sun column I made a point about breaking down the barriers between the various parts of our district and recognising that we are all part of the same community.

In that regard, Wanaka residents might like to take an interest in the current exercise being undertaken in Queenstown to develop a downtown masterplan. This plan sets out to ensure that the potential of the downtown area is recognised and infrastructure developed to unlock that potential over coming years. In addition, there is a strong desire to ensure the downtown area remains attractive and accessible for locals. One of my platforms when I stood for the role of Mayor was that Councils in the past had not sufficiently planned for the future and this exercise sets out to do that, looking as far out as 2050.

The exercise will address access, car parking, congestion, public transport as well as built facilities. From what I’ve seen to date it’s an exciting plan and I look forward to public feedback after council releases a discussion document soon.

The reason why I suggest this exercise is of importance to Wanaka is that, once the Queenstown plan is completed I will be asking Council to turn their minds to Wanaka issues. While many Wanaka residents are at pains to tell me they have no wish to be ‘like Queenstown’ many also talk to me about the disconnect between the two commercial areas of the town, about the growing parking issue and about the town’s connectivity with the lakefront. I’ve also said in the past that the time when public transport will need to be a real consideration for Wanaka is not too far in the future and that needs to be taken account of as well.  Regardless of views on growth, we need to ensure Wanaka is planned right for the future and I know there is already some useful thinking in this space.

Part of Queenstown’s downtown plan will be to consider the site of council’s own offices as well and that is also a factor which needs to be taken into account in the Wanaka plan. We all know that our current Council premises in Wanaka are inadequate and the lessons we are learning in the Queenstown exercise will be relevant to that.

Long term planning is very much like building a house; if you don’t know what the end product is going to look like there’s no point in pouring a floor slab. When we get to carry out this exercise in Wanaka it will be a rewarding and exciting initiative to be involved in. I look forward to that.

- QLDC Mayor Jim Boult

Cover image: Lake Wanaka.  Photo: Nikki Heath / Wanaka Sun


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