Save trees but scrap loos

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Just 14 people have commented on Queenstown council plans to spend $500,000 on an Earnslaw Park and toilet block upgrade. 

The proposals include the removal of two large willow trees, a photinia tree and the extension of the promenade and paved area at the waterfront park. 

The new toilets, designed by Queenstown’s Michael Wyatt Architect Ltd, would replace an unsightly concrete block near Absoloot backpackers – and changes to the park would make it more suitable for events and market days. 

Queenstown Lakes District Council opened public consultation on the plans at the beginning of July. It closed yesterday. 

Community services manager Paul Wilson says: “It’s a fairly low response for something as significant as that. 

“I don’t know what you would draw from that. Some things attract a lot of comment, some don’t. 

“The comments are a mixed bag. It’s not all positive but not all negative either. It’s never black and white, but there’s a pretty even spread, although it’s never a numbers thing. 

“Some say we should get rid of the trees and make it more suitable for events and others say it’s sacrosanct, don’t touch it and it’s a waste of money. 

“With regards to the toilets, it’s a general view they should be upgraded. They’re well below the standard we have anywhere else in the district.” 

The toilet block upgrade – costing between $400,000 and $500,000 – is on the community services agenda on Tuesday. Michael Wyatt Architect Ltd has designed many of the town’s buildings including the Ngai Tahu precinct’s Post Office building, The Pig and Whistle building and Coronet Peak ski centre. 

The park upgrade, by Queens-town’s Baxter Design Group, will be discussed at a later date. 

One proposal suggests the toilets should include the shell of a cafe, which the council could lease out. 

“We had looked at that previously,” Wilson says. 

“We’ve included a very small kiosk in the toilet plans as a let-able space but I’d be interested to see what the committee thinks about something a bit more substantial.”