Queenstown’s mayor is defending a information-gathering by a conference centre working party before green-lighting such a facility.
The resort’s accommodation sector is pushing for a specialist conference centre for Queenstown, saying it’ll help boost visitor nights.
In a statement on progress to date, mayor Vanessa van Uden says: “It’s not as simple as if we build this they will come. It’s a case of if we build the right sort of facility they will come.
“We need to get it right the first time and the work that has been undertaken to date will help us achieve this,” she says.
The working party commissioned a feasibility study which priced a 750-delegate centre at $43.7 million, revealed by Mountain Scene last month.
Queenstown Lakes District Council will officially consider the study at its next full meeting on Tuesday.
Van Uden says the report is part of the wider process of information gathering that had been undertaken and would help inform council decisions around moving the process forward.
“Should the council decide to accept the report, we will then consider what steps need to be taken in terms of delegating further tasks to the working party including seeking formal proposals from interested parties and the preparation of business case, which would be further considered by council,” she adds.
In order to secure financial support from Government, the process had to be as thorough as possible and the working party had received invaluable feedback from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise in terms of deciding the scale of the any potential facility, Van Uden says.
“We’ve been working very closely with the Ministry and their advice has helped frame the size and scope of this project.
“To bring more conference business here, any centre we build has to meet international standards.”
Van Uden says once all the details are finalised, the project will be opened up for public consultation.
“Although feedback from the community is welcome at any time, the council would undertake formal consultation should public funds become involved.”
Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key has indicated the Government is open to putting money towards such a facility in Queenstown.
Wake up Queenstown
If our Mayor has been quoted correctly it shows a total disregard for the ratepayers who elected her on a platform of promised transparency and putting the financial mess in order that the council got itself into. Has none of the council employees or high paid consultants the guts to tell her that local body owned and run conference centres generally do not make money, that the business case presented by Howarths and the so called working party is untenable even in a best case situation. The local worthies who are pushing ill gotten venture to further their own business interests at the cost of ratepayers must be falling about the place laughing at the gullibility of the Mayor and her supporters on council for their naivety
11 Aug 2012 08:05PMpcleisure
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