Tourism heavyweights are swiping 15 more downtown Queenstown carparks this summer – at a reduced cost.
Queenstown’s council took flak last year after striking a deal with Fergburger to pave over three parks outside the popular Shotover Street eatery.
Now it has given the go-ahead for Skyline to block off 13 spaces on Marine Parade for months during construction of its new $6million building. Skyline will pay $10 per park per day.
And Beach Street Holdings Ltd, owned by NZSki major shareholder Sir John Davies, a former mayor, will use two parks on upper Beach St during its five-month construction project. It will pay $15 per park per day.
Pay-and-display parking in the small CBD is $2 per hour.
Wilkinsons Pharmacy owner Kim Wilkinson said nearby businesses and the Chamber of Commerce were given no notification about the Skyline takeover.
The prime parks were fenced off on Monday.
Wilkinson says: ”It’s a necessary evil we know, but some warning or just communication would have been good. The only people who seem to be aware of it are the property committee that signed it off.
“It will affect our business. We don’t even know how long it will go on.”
Mr Wilkinson estimates the benefit to a businesses of a single CBD car park is about $260,000 a year.
“Skyline is paying about $47,000 per year for 13.”
Queenstown Lakes District Council chief executive Adam Feeley says the fees are being reconsidered.
He says major construction projects in downtown Queenstown present space challenges.
The options are to confine construction and associated activities to the site or allow some extension on to public space.
Feeley says: ”The former may often cause significant additional costs to a project and therefore there is an attempt to balance competing public and private interests with a licence to occupy some public space.”
Skyline chief executive Jeff Staniland says he hadn’t “turned his mind” to whether the company was getting a good deal on the car parks.
“The contractors need somewhere to base themselves as we fill up the site with the building.
“There are lots of parks, [multi-storeys] on Church St, Man St, and the only business on Marine Parade is Eichardt’s [Hotel].”
Staniland says construction should be complete in the first quarter of next year and the project signed off in the second.
New lobby group Downtown QT hopes to pedestrianise the whole of upper Beach St as a trial at some point next year.
Downtown QT general manager Steve Wilde says the days of people parking at the door of a downtown business could be numbered.