Queenstown Lakes councillors have agreed to start community engagement on a draft masterplan and associated planning provisions for Ladies Mile between Frankton and Lake Hayes.

City Hall planning and development boss Tony Avery says the masterplan includes a wide mix of development densities, opportunity for an improved bus service, local facilities like a town centre, a primary and high school, and a community and sports centre.

“These factors aim to encourage movement in and around the area, and reduce the number of trips in private vehicles required to cross the Shotover Bridge,” Avery says.

Speaking before the vote at the Thursday’s council meeting in Wanaka, Queenstown’s mayor Jim Boult said he wanted to put it on the record that he would not support the start of development along Ladies Mile until there was “a comprehensive and robust plan in place to ensure we do not get further congestion along Ladies Mile or the Shotover Bridge”.

Included with Thursday’s agenda item was an undated position paper from the NZ Transport Agency which outlined its concerns about the proposed development’s implications on traffic.

The masterplan envisages up to 2400 dwellings in mainly high- and medium-density areas of up to 70 units per hectare.

NZTA’s report says it remains “unclear” how the development can be designed so as not to adversely impact on the existing roading network.

Last year Mountain Scene reported NZTA wants no more than 1100 units.

While the masterplan relies on “significant modal shift” from cars to public and active transport, NZTA notes the council’s “assuming” the development would encourage that.

“But, technical advice based on international research indicates that a 5-6% reduction in traffic generation can be expected for a mixed-use development.

“Public transport will not cater for all trips, so there will always be a resultant increase in vehicle demand across the [Shotover] bridge largely irrespective of the housing density or mix of development.”

One factor it highlighted was the 870 school kids who cross the bridge each day.

The Ministry of Education’s “part-way through” considering sites for new schools in the Ladies Mile area, according to the covering report.

“The future school sites are an important component of the masterplan as they provide an opportunity to reduce a significant amount of traffic that crosses the bridge.”

A community information session on the draft masterplan’s being held at Shotover Primary School at 7pm on Wednesday, May 5.

Public feedback closes on May 28 and the draft masterplan will go to councillors in July for endorsement.