Conference centre urgency? No – feasibility study first


The working party looking into Queenstown conference centre options plans commissioning a feasibility study to gauge demand for a facility.
In a statement this afternoon (Friday), working party member and Queenstown Lakes mayor Vanessa van Uden says: “To move forward we need to do a detailed feasibility study to give us an indication of likely demand. Those numbers will also play a part in the final site selection. 

“We’ve been told that if we build it they will come, however if we want central Government and council to get behind the project we need to show them more than just anecdotal evidence.” 

Van Uden says the working party – of Sir Eion Edgar, Penny Clark, Miles Wilson, Kylie Brittain and Steve Wilde – had also requested more detail on some of the potential sites. 

“The process so far has given us confidence that a suitable site will be able to be found. We’re fortunate that we have such a range of potential locations available to us.” 

The announcement that a feasibility study will be done comes after a major event organiser warned in Mountain Scene this week that Queenstown will miss out on a major economic benefits if a conference centre isn’t fast-tracked. 

Australian-based Rod Hearps, who brought a large 500-strong education fair to the Wakatipu last week, says Queenstown secured the event because it was unable to be held in quake-damaged Christchurch.

The event was held at the Events Centre and required an extra marquee. 

“If Queenstown has a convention centre we are more likely to come back, but without it we probably won’t,” Hearps says.