A long-time Queenstown doctor who’s standing for council at this October’s elections is prescribing drastic medicine to prevent the resort from overdeveloping.
Wakatipu Medical Centre partner Val Miller is calling for a halt on further development till the town’s infrastructure catches up - “otherwise we are going to have a disaster”.
“At the moment we don’t have the infrastructure to deal with what we’ve got - the primary schools
are already full, the sewerage system’s being built, that’s great, but there’s so much other infrastructure that doesn’t cope.
“Power, at the moment, doesn’t cope - people are saying they can’t heat their houses because there’s just not enough power coming through the lines.”
Traffic congestion needs tackling immediately, she says.
Miller’s critical of a newly-proposed ‘special housing area’ subdivision by the Ladies Mile entrance to
Queenstown - “do we need more houses coming on to Ladies Mile, clogging up roading that doesn’t cope at the moment?”
Miller wonders if a current paper road from Tucker Beach to Gorge Road could be developed as an alternative to congested Frankton Rd.
She also supports a park-and-ride solution to reduce traffic into the CBD, and says public transport should be subsidised “because the buses are ridiculously expensive”.
Miller also wants affordable housing for short- and long-term locals addressed.
She favours staff accommodation being built at the Wakatipu High site after the school moves to Frankton in 2018, and nearby Gorge Rd.
“I feel big businesses or council need to be invested in that to keep it affordable and healthy because, my God, when I hear of eight people sleeping in one room, that concerns me from a health point of view.”
She doesn’t believe long-term affordable housing will work “if you let market forces be involved in it” -having entry-level Shotover Country homes fetch nearly a million dollars is a disaster, she says.
Rules like only selling to first-home homeowners and preventing people on- selling for five years need to be enacted in council bylaws, she suggests.
Miller, 58, says she’s standing because of her love for Queenstown - “it’s been very good to me” - and her wish to stop it becoming a trashy resort where it’s no longer desirable to raise a family.
“I’ve heard of a lot of long-term locals who are now looking at moving.”
She’s also standing because local businessman Jim Boult has put his hand up to be mayor.
“I wouldn’t have stood unless there was a mayoral candidate that I felt had the commitment to really take the thing by the horns.”