Low support for casino on Queenstown convention site

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More than 40 per cent of submittors to a Queenstown convention centre proposal oppose a casino as part of any wider development. 

Queenstown Lakes District Council, which today (Monday) released 748 public submissions, had floated a relocated SkyCity Casino at the Lakeview site as one way to help subsidise the centre. 

In calling for submissions, a council survey asked if facilities such as a hotel/accommodation, residential, restaurants or a casino should be considered as part of a wider development of the project. 

A relocated casino – which would require a law change – was “strongly opposed” by almost 33 per cent of submitters and “opposed” by almost another 10 per cent. 

Just under 25 per cent support or strongly support a casino. A further 16 per cent were “neutral” and a final 16 per cent left it blank.

Almost 55 per cent support or strongly support the council leading the development of a centre, as against 31 per cent in opposition. 

The council’s preferred Lakeview site, on the site of the old Man Street campground, gets a big tick. 

It’s strongly supported by 43.18 per cent of respondents and supported by another 16 per cent. Just 16 per cent oppose or strongly oppose it. 

Destination Queenstown boss Graham Budd, in his submission on behalf of DQ’s convention bureau, fully supports council leading the centre’s development and its location at Lakeview. 

“DQ supports a standalone convention centre,” he says. 

“If there was no risk to the community of greater cost, timeliness of the development process or completion deadline we would support some combined development. 

“In this light we submit that the development of a convention centre would ‘unlock’ the future commercial value and potential development of the remaining and adjacent land on the Lakeview site.” 

Budd says Queenstown’s achieving no growth in convention business at the moment “due almost entirely to the lack of a modern purpose-built facility of sufficient size”. 

Growing convention business is a key part of DQ’s strategy to grow spring and autumn shoulder business, he adds. 

A convention centre would also encourage airlines to add shoulder season services, he suggests, which would also support the growth of leisure visitors in non-peak seasons. 

Budd says DQ is neutral on funding contribution models. 

In a separate submission, as a private ratepayer, Budd supports ratepayer and bed tax funding for a centre. 

“While the business community should attract a higher proportion of this, the economic benefit will certainly also accrue to residential ratepayers. 

“I am one and I’m happy to make a contribution.” 

Budd’s and DQ’s submissions – and the other 746 – can now be viewed online HERE

A hearing for those wishing to speak to their submissions is scheduled tomorrow at council’s Gorge Road offices from 1.30pm and is expected to go all afternoon with about 30 people appearing. 

Timetable of speakers – and rough speaking times – as follows:
1.30pm Don Spary
1.35pm Brenton Griffiths
1.40pm Mark Kunath
1.45pm Trish Fraser
1.50pm Mike Hansen
1.55pm Rod MacLeod
2.00pm Roger Tompkins
2.05pm Mac Gardner
2.10pm Alistair McIlwrick
2.15pm Basil Walker
2.20pm Fiona Craig
2.25pm Alastair Luke
2.30pm Charlie Philips (Queenstown Chamber of Commerce)
2.35pm Denis Pezzaro – QLHT
2.40pm Denis Pezzaro
2.45 BREAK
2.50pm Peti Seiuli
2.55pm Nona James
3.00pm Gary Todd
3.05pm Ewen McCammon
3.10pm Jenny Carter
3.15pm Bill Falcone
3.20pm Alistair Porter
3.25 Christine Byrch
3.30pm Penny Clarke for TIA
3.35pm John Edmonds – Crowne Plaza Hotel
3.40pm Scott Patterson QAC
3.45pm Graeme Budd – DQ
3.50pm Murray Bennett
3.55pm Ken Gousmett