A meeting of Kingston residents has overwhelmingly rejected splitting from the Queenstown Lakes District Council and joining Southland.
A recent survey of residents by the township’s community association revealed a 50-50 split on the issue, but when it was discussed at its annual meeting yesterday, not one of the 35 people attending spoke in favour of such a move.
However, several speakers took the opportunity to lambast the council for a perceived lack of action on the township’s infrastructure, particularly water supply and sewerage.
Alastair McLees says the council had been “procrastinating” about a sewerage scheme for years.
The prospect of having to pay $30,000 in two years’ time for sewerage was a deterrent to anyone thinking of buying a property in the township.
“The sewerage should have been here 10 years ago, at a cheaper rate.
We’ve had a really poor deal from the Queenstown Lakes District Council.”
Property owner Colin Anderson says breaking away from Queenstown could be ”more negative than positive”.
Kingston was a “boil on the bum” of either council, and would always receive more in resources than it paid in rates.
“I don’t believe the issues that we have in Kingston, such as water and sewerage, are going to go ahead any quicker by being part of the Southland District Council.”
Committee treasurer Bernie Long says joining Southland would be a “backward step”, as residents could lose services they now took for granted, such as rubbish collection and a library.
Resident John Jones says Kingston needed “stronger links and a stronger voice” with the QLDC, and suggested raising the status of the community association to that of a community board, with a council representative.
The township’s representative on the QLDC, Merv Aoake, says the council is “hamstrung” until it could persuade the Government to allow it to charge a visitor levy to fund infrastructure upgrades.
He pleaded with residents to be patient.
“Please stick with us. Your day in the sun is coming.”
Association committee member Annette Dalziel, who stood down as chairwoman at the meeting, says the survey had been prompted by “informal discussions” among some residents.