Downtown dilemma


‘Do we stay or do we go?’

The owners of Raeward Fresh say they’re among many central Queenstown retailers who’ve been weighing up whether to decamp to Frankton’s burgeoning shopping centres.

Angela and Nathan Imlach, who are putting on a festive shout tonight to celebrate 15 years in business, are aware that traffic and parking hassles have put a lot of locals off shopping in or around the CBD.

Angela: “Locals were pretty severely chopped off for a while. They were basically told, ‘if you don’t get on a bus, don’t bother [coming to town] because it’s going to cost an extra $15 on top of your hairdresser bill to park, or an extra $30 to come for dinner’.”

In addition, the Imlachs say their Gorge Road business has suffered since Wakatipu High relocated to Frankton at the start of the year.

Nathan believes it’s unfortunate CBD carparks have been pulled and parking’s got dearer before the council’s promised new parking buildings are built.

However he says they’ve decided to ride it out in Gorge Rd for at least two more years.

“We think central Queenstown will come again,” Angela says.

“I think once the traffic gets going better, people will be less reluctant to take that trip to town.”

They’re also unsure just yet how businesses will fare in Frankton’s expanding shopping centres, where rents are also dearer than theirs.

Angela also believes it would be a shame if visitors didn’t meet locals in the CBD, and is encouraged that a Kiwi fashion store like Moochi Royal has moved into The Mall.