Queenstown council wants convention centre reaction

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Queenstown’s council has launched a major consultation programme to test public opinion over its proposed $50 million convention centre.

In a statement today (Friday), mayor Vanessa van Uden says documents outlining the case for the council-led centre are now available at www.qldc.govt.nz or council offices and libraries.

A summary report asks for public feedback on a range of issues, including funding models.

There are also specialist reports on site location, economic impact, and the projected economic potentials from each of the three council-owned sites being considered.

As announced in late May, those sites are a large Stanley Street block stretching from Ballarat St almost to Shotover Street, the Gorge Rd carpark – and the preferred site, the old Queenstown Motor Park land off Man St.

Van Uden: “This [convention centre proposal] is a bold and innovative project for our district but its success is completely reliant on community support.”

Progress so far on the conference centre proposal includes:

• the council negotiating with a consortium led by Ngai Tahu Property and infrastructure investor Morrison & Co.
• an indication from the Government that Wellington may tip in $10m

• and the appointment of SkyCity Entertainment Group as preferred operator.

SkyCity boss Nigel Morrison – who has no association with Morrison & Co – has also publicly expressed hopes of relocating a casino on land adjoining the convention centre, together with a purpose-built hotel.

As revealed by Mountain Scene in June, relocating either SkyCity’s Beach Street or Wharf casinos would require a law change.

The Government recently finalised a quid-pro-quo deal with SkyCity over an Auckland convention centre, with the giant gaming group funding and operating the conference centre in return for being allowed more pokies and a casino licence extension.

Today’s public consultation announcement by the council comes just a day after Mountain Scene coverage of former mayor on the proposed convention centre.