By HUGH COLLINS
An Arrowtown real estate agent’s slammed organisers of the Queenstown Mardi Gras for planning to run the event in the middle of the historic village.
The festival’s scheduled to run on September 5 in the Ramshaw Lane carpark, depending on what happens with Covid Alert Levels in the next week or so — it can’t operate under Alert Level 2.
But Richard Newman says Mardi Gras should be taking place in a big paddock somewhere, not in the middle of a busy town centre.
‘‘I have nothing against the event, but it’s just in the wrong place.
“If they are trying to attract people to Arrowtown, bless their souls, I don’t think they are going to be going into souvenir and clothing shops.
‘‘So I don’t see any retailer benefiting from it.
“My biggest concern is what are they going to do in the main street?
‘‘You get 3000 young people, have a few beers and a few wines and all hell could break loose.”
Arrowtown Promotion & Business Association (APBA) project coordinator Sue Patterson says her organisation’s supportive of the event — but only if the country moves to Alert Level 1 in time.
Audiology Touring Ltd director Mitch Lowe says his company’s talked to APBA and Queenstown’s council for months.
“We have full approval from the [APBA] board to operate the event under Alert Level 1.
‘‘[We] have directly consulted with many Arrowtown businesses, as well as NZ Police, various council departments and a number of required organisations, adhering to all consenting protocols in running an event of this size.
‘‘Public notifications have been on Buckingham Street since the start of August, with over 200 households and businesses recently being updated on our approved plans via a physical letter drop.’’
His team’s now keeping a close eye on the government’s Covid response — an update’s coming today — and has postponement plans in place.
“The safety of our attendees, guests and artists is our top priority, as is the safe running of a successful event.’’