Mayor calls for flood threat coordinator

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One person should be designated to get downtown Queenstown prepped during future flood threats, mayor Clive Geddes believes. 

In the wake of Lake Wakatipu’s latest spillover, Geddes wants one person to coordinate responses on the flood-prone foreshore after a mix of different prevention measures was adopted by business and property owners. 

Queenstown Lakes District Council held a debrief on Tuesday, reviewing its response to the threatening lake levels from April 28 to May 12 and identified areas needing work. 

“There are some improvements we are going to make in how the foreshore area is used and by which parties and where responsibilities for that lie,” Geddes says. 

He adds: “You end up with a number of people involved in what is essentially a construction zone in a public area.” 

Jeff Staniland, boss of business giant Skyline, which independently built a barrier wall to protect its lakefront properties, agrees one person should be in charge in the event of future lake overflows. 

“But we still want to protect our property, as will everybody,” Staniland says. 

Geddes says the council will take proposed changes back to the property and business owners and Queenstown Chamber of Commerce at a meeting early next month.