DQ’s Pahl upset

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Advisory group omission ‘no conspiracy’ – QLDC.

Destination Queens­town boss Stephen Pahl is put out – over being left off a council-appointed events advisory group.

“I’m surprised and I’m disappointed,” Pahl says.

He knew nothing about the advisory group until Mountain Scene asked for his reaction to DQ’s omission.

“We definitely have not [been invited to join], I can confirm that for sure.

“I haven’t had anything come over my desk at all.”

What Pahl isn’t part of is a “sub-committee” formed after two Queenstown Lakes District Council consultation workshops in February on a new events strategy.

According to one of the sub-committee, its seven or eight members were hand-picked by mayor Clive Geddes and council boss Duncan Field from 20 or 30 people at the workshops.

Pahl attended the first workshop but couldn’t make the second.

The sub-committee was charged with advising QLDC on making the resort “event-friendly”.

It reported back in April.

“[It’s] a group of people who intimately understand events,” QLDC boss Duncan Field says.

“[They’ve covered] everything from traffic management plans, road closures, funding if that’s available, venues, pretty much anything.”

But particularly because DQ runs Winter Festival, being left out is “a major omission”, Pahl says.

DQ is right into events – “it’s a core part of our responsibilities and area of expertise” – and he’s even dreamed up a big, new event himself.

“DQ has a lot to offer in bringing market intelligence and events intelligence to the table and working together as a community to win them for Queenstown.”

QLDC’s advisory group includes bosses of council quangos Lakes Leisure and Lakes Environmental – plus three event organisers, including Winter Games supremo Arthur Klap.

Mountain Scene understands the group’s has recommended QLDC scrap its draft events strategy and commission a complete rewrite – by an outside professional.

Veteran organiser Klap isn’t a contender for the rewrite but has suggested two possible candidates.
Where does all this leave DQ? Out in the cold, Pahl says.

“We are effectively still in the dark as to this new [advisory] group and we feel we have something to contribute.

“I’d hope [leaving DQ out is] simply an oversight because, for the life of me, I really couldn’t imagine why DQ would be purposely omitted.”

Field has a simple explanation for DQ’s omission: “I suspect they didn’t put their hand up.”

DQ chairman Erna Spijkerbosch was at the workshops out of which the advisory group sprang, he says.

“It was simply who had the time available. There’s no conspiracy.”

Pahl wants to be in on rewriting the events strategy.

“They need to ensure it has a com­munity focus and isn’t purely commercially driven.”

The advisory group’s recommendations and other submissions go back to a QLDC working party later this month.