By TRACEY ROXBURGH and PHILIP CHANDLER
Could a conference centre finally be on the way for Queenstown?
Mountain Scene understands the government is at least considering investing in Remarkables Park Ltd’s long-mooted multi-million dollar conference centre at Frankton.
RPL director Alastair Porter says there is no deal with the government, however ‘‘we’d welcome and certainly be open to discussing a joint venture with the government to facilitate a conference centre’’.
‘‘So any investment they’d be prepared to discuss we’d be open to discussing with them.’’
It’s been almost eight years since the conference centre — which could cost up to $60 million to build — was first announced.
Porter says the company made several shovel-ready applications to the government last year, including for the conference centre and a proposed new 10km gondola, linking from Remarks Park to The Remarks ski area, with a stop at Lake Hayes Estate also linking to the mountain.
Discussions, he says, are ‘‘still progressing’’.
Regarding the conference centre, though, Porter says they already have the site and the design and it’d be ‘‘very timely’’ for the project to get going.
‘‘There’s a lot more hotels and there’s a lot of vacancies there at the moment and we could certainly employ people out of the tourist sector.
‘‘A conference centre doesn’t start the day it opens, it starts 18 months, two years in advance when you start putting the team together doing the bookings, making the arrangements and getting ready for a centre to develop.
‘‘So it would not only be an immediate employer of construction people, but it would also
expand the opportunities for employment organisations.’’