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Speeding up plans to introduce light rail, or high-capacity gondola operations, to future-proof Frankton Rd is envisaged in Queenstown’s future.

The council will consider indicative business cases for its 35-year, $385million Queenstown town centre masterplan at its full meeting in the resort this week.

If endorsed, the masterplan will progress to a detailed planning phase and a series of projects will be included for the community’s consideration as part of the 10-year plan consultation process.

Business cases before the council this week will look at the overall masterplan programme, a new arterial road and public and passenger transport facilities.

Council property and infrastructure general manager Peter Hansby said the project had made significant progress since informal community engagement earlier this year.

The council received “detailed feedback” and had worked closely with stakeholders including the NZ Transport Agency and Otago Regional Council to “refine designs, compare options and update expected costs”, Mr Hansby said.

“We now have an indicative programme that supports our vision for a people-focused, thriving and vibrant heart of Queenstown, now and into the future.”

The council would look to fast-track the planning for “mass-transit corridor options”, including light rail and a gondola along Frankton Rd, as well as develop wharf facilities to support greater use of Lake Wakatipu as a transport option, he said.

A new town centre arterial route from Melbourne St to the One Mile roundabout would allow the town centre to grow, shift cars “out to the fringes” and provide better access for public and passenger transport, while new parking buildings were contemplated on the town centre fringes, aligned with an expansion of the town centre’s paid parking areas, new parking management technology and the development of new park-and-ride facilities.

A new public transport hub was being mooted for Stanley St.

That would have up to eight bays to support the growth in bus services following the introduction of $2 buses last month, and forecast passenger increases.

The masterplan also envisaged improved arrangements for passenger transport by providing improved spaces for coaches, tourist operations and taxis to operate across the town centre.

“We are very conscious of the significant investment required over the 35-year horizon and we have other needs to balance against this programme through our long-term plan budget,” Mr Hansby said.

“But we can’t keep putting this off and, collectively, we will keep working hard to find the best-value solutions while pursuing a range of funding streams.”

  • Otago Daily Times