Long-time local journalist Steve Wilde is the new face of downtown Queenstown.
Wilde, a Radio New Zealand correspondent for the past 10 years, takes on the town centre manager’s role for new incorporated society, Downtown QT.
Wilde, 40, who takes up his new job on May 1, says: “I am so passionate about Queenstown and in particular downtown Queenstown - I’ve lived and worked and breathed downtown Queenstown for almost 20 years.
“One of the key things that we’ll be trying to do is bring locals back - a lot of that is just that it’s hard for locals to get downtown, they don’t want to sit in traffic, trying to get in there.
“We need to do some work around that, in collaboration with the council.
“And visitors who come here want a quintessential Queenstown experience - you can’t give that to them without having locals as part of the mix.”
Downtown QT is an alliance of business operators that aims to ensure the CBD remains the region’s premier commercial and visitor hub in the face of Frankton Flats’ rampant growth.
It was set up by the local Chamber of Commerce but will be a separate entity with its own board.
Steering group chairman Alastair Wood says the success of the downtown area is vitally important to the economic future of the entire region.
The town centre manager’s role “will enable this community to speak as one voice, act as one entity and benefit all the sector groups equally”.
Aside from parking and transport, other issues Downtown QT’s likely to address include streetscaping, rental prices, retail mix and marketing and promotion.
Wilde says communicating with various business operators, including landlords, will be his first focus.
Another criticial element will be working with the local council. He believes the experience he’s had with community organisations dealing with council - especially his role in the redevelopment of the Queenstown Memorial Centre - will come in handy.
His long background in journalism should help too, he says.
“The other thing is I’ve been quite impartial as well so I don’t have a vested interest, and I understand all the issues.”
Downtown QT will be funded by the business community - the minimum membership is $350 a year.