downtown queenstown new zealand buildings

Editorial

Blood Flow

June 2 2020 by Scott Stevens

Blood Flow

I am making a big effort to get back into Queenstown’s CBD, and as I poke about in my white coat and stethoscope, I detect a faint pulse. With the greatest respect to the tremendous efforts and stress it has taken to reopen, our local businesses across tourism, hospitality and everyone in between have caught economic coronavirus. It is bad, with most in ICU, on ventilators. Some days (like Queen’s Birthday weekend) signs of moderate improvement are strong. But our vaccine to economic recovery is consistent blood flow – that is, people back in the heart of town on a regular basis. We need to pull out all the stops to achieve this.

Unlike Arrowtown for example, Queenstown no longer has a resident base of local families near the CBD. On any given day you will still see the volumes of shoppers at 5 Mile but in town you can virtually park where you like. I put $2 in a parking metre on Marine Parade last Thursday. It got me 30 mins. Pre-Covid discouragement rates. I stayed there for three hours. I did not get a ticket. Maybe unofficially, council are on the same page. Forget about discouraging CBD parking for now and bring the locals back.

Some days the signs of life in the CBD are so weak I start writing up the death notice. Then I see a familiar face, then another. All of sudden the heart beats louder. The locals are still here, and we can save this town. I get to work with chest pumps and oxygen, starting with these words in the Lakes Weekly. Because we need to get the messaging right. Despite not getting a parking ticket last Thursday, there was chalk on my tyre. Was that just a friendly warning not to abuse my overstaying, or are the parking wardens back in the business of discouraging local traffic to Queenstown’s CBD?

I know the problems being discussed in the Gorge Road Council Chambers. Drop parking charges then who pays for the hugely beneficial $2 Bus? Have free parking (or too cheap) and the last remaining CBD based office and hospo workers will hog them all day and all night. Maybe 1-hour free parking is the short-term solution to encourage the heartbeat. Make it official, advertise it and do not leave us wondering if we can or cannot park in the CBD.

We all complained only a few months ago that Queenstown was not for the locals anymore. The frustration, mainly with traffic, parking and hordes of tourists kept us away. Now, the more I look the more I see how wrong we were. Of course, Queenstown is for locals, it always has been. It just got too popular. The character of the town was hiding behind that frustration. With great parking, local businesses and local business owners, favourite old cafes, restaurants and bars, the TSS Earnslaw at Steamers Wharf, KJet’s yellow boats departing Queenstown Bay, the Gondola ascending Bobs Peak – all those familiar things you took for granted. Now, they are returned to us.

Scott Stevens
scott@qmg.co.nz

- Scott Stevens
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  • Fuzzy Wuzzy

    The lack of interest in visiting in the CBD by Queenstown residents must be attributed directly at the foot of successive councils, including the one you Scott Stevens were a part off, who allowed the major CBD property owners to turn the area into a tourist ghetto.
    That has been quite obvious with the extended CBD zoning which has resulted in getting rid of any remaining residents in the area to allow the big end of town to further expand their footprint and riches. The primary object of the rezoning was to allow the council to flog off the Lakeview site so that could horse trade their way into a new office complex, smack bang in the middle of Stanley Street which is one of the busiest streets in the CBD, This, of course, was the result of a complicit council, who did not seem to care too much at the time about the consequences, including the current and future lack of parking not only for the 400 or so council staff but the many residents who would wish to obtain council services.
    It was not WE that were the wrong SCOTT but YOU and your fellow Councilors, who time after time fellowed the Mayors and big ends of towns lead and put your hands up to vote in the affirmative.

    Posted 02/06/2020 2:47pm (4 months ago)

  • Dim Tim

    Love it Scott! Nail head hit.

    Posted 02/06/2020 8:50pm (4 months ago)

  • FUZZY F-WIT

    Spot on Scott. No wonder you left council, having to listen to F-wits like Fuzzy Wuzzy. Who needs that! I'm sick of hearing conspiracy theories on how the "big end of town" get this special treatment. Business is hard weather you are the big or little end. Councils job as a regulatory authority does not change whatever the size of your end. Once again, spot on Scott.

    Posted 03/06/2020 12:14pm (4 months ago)

  • Truth Hurts

    FUZZY F-WITis obviously a pissed of developer who is upset one of his proxies has been outed,

    Posted 03/06/2020 12:33pm (4 months ago)

  • Sticks and Stones


    I understood ratepayers both through QLDC and ORC rates subsidize the bus service. That parking fines&fees go into the general fund.

    Posted 03/06/2020 3:34pm (4 months ago)