Ladies Mile warning recalled

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A warning from a prominent former councillor is being recalled as Queenstown’s council considers high-density housing by the Ladies Mile entrance to the resort.

Ex-Queenstown councillor Stuart Maclean remembers the words of then-planning chairman, the late Harry Caldwell, when he joined his committee after the 1989 election.

“I said, ‘When houses and buildings get built on the Ladies Mile …’

‘Listen, young fellow, there will never be buildings on the Ladies Mile – over my dead body’.”

Maclean says in those days it was envisaged that the tree-lined Ladies Mile highway entrance to Queenstown, between Lake Hayes and the Shotover Bridge, would always have a rural flavour.

Mountain Scene last week revealed that Queenstown’s council has prepared a master plan for high-density housing on the north side of Ladies Mile, sparking opposition from residents in the area.

A massive retirement village is currently under construction on the opposite side.

Asked his view today, Maclean says: “In fairness to everybody living here, one of the problems we’ve had is that nobody foresaw the rapid growth that we’ve experienced in the last few years and, consequently, that does make it rather difficult for planners to plan for the future.”

And what does he think his planning mentor would say, if he were alive today?

“I think Harry would be disappointed, but he was a man who could also accept that change had to happen.”

scoop@scene.co.nz