Lakeview sale looms

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Unpopular plan: But is selling Lakeview land any better for ratepayers than building an ill-conceived convention centre?

Despite facing a mounting housing crisis, Queenstown’s council looks set to sell a prime piece of land near the resort’s CBD.

In a report to tomorrow’s full council meeting, the council’s strategic projects boss Paul Speedy recommends the council agree to a “transaction approach” to developing the 4.4ha of the former Lakeview Holiday Park.

That follows the death of the council’s unpopular convention centre idea for the site.

Speedy says the commercial land at Lakeview is “underperforming” at present and is attractive to interested investment companies, so selling it is a significant opportunity for the council.

He warns that selling it might not provide the highest financial return to ratepayers.

The report suggests more community consultation “before declaring the property surplus and deciding to dispose of the commercial land at Lakeview”.

The commercial area is less than half the wider Lakeview site, which is about 10.4ha.

Speedy’s report says the balance of the land would be retained under council ownership and/or administration for recreation purposes and “strategic infrastructure corridors”.

The council resolved in August 2015 enter commercial negotiations for the Lakeview land until there was sufficient certainty about the Queenstown Convention Centre proposal.

At the end of September that year, leases for 77 privately-owned cabins on the site expired.

Speedy’s report said elected members were presented with an indicative business case last November which gave options for progressing development at Lakeview.

That showed investment of close to $450 million (public and private) on the site could have an expected district economic impact of $83.5m from one-off construction related activity, and additional ongoing economic benefits from operations of more than $54.5m annually.

“The net financial return to the council was projected to be $25.5million.

“This is in comparison to a ‘status quo’ or ‘do nothing’ net financial return of $5.2million.

“Given that the council has not received sufficient financial commitments to date from funding sources to construct the QCC [Queenstown Convention Centre], the opportunity cost of ‘doing nothing’ or further delay in development of the Lakeview site could have a material impact on potential financial and non-financial outcomes for the council.”

A council-backed convention centre failed to attract financial support, including from the government.

Otago Daily Times