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By MATTHEW MCKEW

Plans to increase housing in Ladies Mile and Frankton by up to 4000 units rely on Kiwis ditching cars in favour of bus and ferry networks.

That’s according to the growing list of consultant-produced and council-commissioned plans for how the area could shape up over the next 30 years.

Councillors on Thursday approved consultant fees of up to $1.4 million for a Ladies Mile masterplan.

The plan will consider how to make best use of land that’s already had three housing developments rejected in recent years.

An establishment report from earlier this year setting out the parameters of the masterplan suggests low-density, detached dwellings is not ‘‘an efficient use of land’’ and says there’s room for 2124 residential units.

However, NZ Transport Agency wants no more than 1100 units because of traffic on Shotover Bridge.

The Ladies Mile establishment report says the masterplan must therefore ‘‘look to seek to ensure high-quality and reliable public transport outcomes that reduce reliance on single-occupancy private vehicles’’.

The council’s bought land on the southern side of Ladies Mile for $13.78m, and although there are no firm plans, rumours of a park-and-ride remain.

This chimes with NZTA plans to put bus lanes along SH6 and to ‘‘prioritise’’ buses on SH6A.

For its part, the agency commits to building a roundabout at the Howards Drive intersection over the next two years, to connect Lake Hayes Estate with the highway.

The council establishment report also says the Otago Regional Council-backed Wakatipu public ferry service ‘‘seems an obvious choice’’ to provide better public transport options.

KJet recently gained approval for a ferry service south of Shotover Country at Bridesdale.

Meantime, a masterplan for Frankton’s set to return to council in September, a year after public consultation on plans for high-density housing and conversion of part of SH6 to an urban arterial road.

NZTA believes the bus lanes, as well as improved cycle/pedestrian tracks at Jack’s Point and the historic Shotover Bridge, will alleviate growing traffic problems.

But some were less than convinced in submissions to the Frankton plan, including couple John Hilhorst and Cath Gilmour.

‘‘Already morning commuter traffic backs up to Lake Hayes in its slow crawl into Frankton.

‘‘Place the constriction equivalent of Shotover Street into Five Mile, and the district is uselessly log-jammed.

‘‘Any assertion that public transport and alternative vehicle options will be sufficient to counter this congestion is fanciful.’’

Alongside the Frankton and Ladies Mile developments, Queenstown Event Centre’s set for a $151m makeover.

New facilities suggests increased use will lead to more problems with its access road.

NZTA is promising improvements to the often-gridlocked Frankton BP roundabout, but will not elaborate on those plans.

matthew.mckew@scene.co.nz