Council’s City Hall climbdown

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A controversial proposal to build swanky new offices for Queenstown Lakes District Council has been canned.

QLDC has already spent $600,000 on preliminary work for a $30 million Gorge Road office block but the weight of public opinion has put paid to the proposal. Some 28 submissions were against the project, 12 were in favour and four were neither for nor against.

The move comes after a Mountain Scene story last month reporting councillor Vanessa van Uden slamming the “gold-plated” project that was still being pushed – despite a projected QLDC debt blowout to $413m by 2019.

“We represent communities that are under pressure,” mayor Clive Geddes says this week. “Regardless of the merits or otherwise of building a new council office, we do not want to divide the community at a time when we need to work together.”

Three weeks ago Geddes was reported saying the new offices may be fast-tracked to provide work for the local construction industry in light of the Kawarau Falls Station receivership.

QLDC will continue owning its Gorge Rd building and lease other commercial space for its swelling staff.

Local Government Minister Rodney Hide told Mountain Scene last month he thought “cramped government is quite good government” when asked about QLDC’s grand office plans.