Queenstown convention centre just logical’ – Martin

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A prominent Queenstown developer welcomes news that a high-powered group will investigate a conference centre in the resort. 

John Martin – who two years ago commissioned plans for a $25 million-$30m convention/arts centre above his Man Street carpark in the CBD – says it’s “certainly a step in the right direction”. 

“There’s certainly a need for a conference centre in Queenstown, particularly in light of the Christchurch earthquake. 

“The whole town would benefit, it’s just logical.” 

Mayor Vanessa van Uden yesterday (Tuesday) announced she would chair a Convention Centre Group including local investor/philanthropist Sir Eion Edgar, Chamber of Commerce board member Miles Wilson, local Hotel Council chair Penny Clark, Destination Queenstown convention bureau head Kylie Brittain and arts advocate Steve Wilde. 

Martin says he’d love the group to consider his site, though concedes it will be “only one of the options”. 

“I’ve always been a strong believer in the downtown CBD, and that type of facility should really go there to support the downtown. 

“Of course other people will have different views on that – some people will think it will go to Frankton.” 

Martin says if the group “really wanted to get into gear, they could have the thing up and running in probably 12-18 months.” 

“If they wish to get going on it – and I think there’s sufficient desire from the community – we’d find the funding for it somehow and somewhere.” 

Van Uden says she hopes her group will have “some direction on the issue before the end of the year”.