Enforced Circuit Breaker
April 21 2020 by Scott Stevens
Enforced Circuit Breaker
Growth, accommodation affordability, airports, and quality of life. These issues that two months ago dominated community chatter have miraculously vaporised, without another dollar of consultant spend. Goodbye out-of-town gravy guzzling consultants. Goodbye. And here we are sitting poised at our baseline of natural beauty in a town “fit for a Queen”. I could think of worse places to have an enforced circuit breaker jabbed into my neck.
As it was in the 1860’s so it is tomorrow. For as long as people have been visiting this district they have been struck by its natural beauty. Our local businesses just happen to have been built from this blessed platform. This fact is amplified now in the peace of lockdown when we spend time in the outdoors with our bubbles; more alive and connected to our natural surroundings – registering the bird song, the sunrises and sunsets on our mountains, the changing stunning colours of autumn, the moods of the lake and the clarity of our rivers. Probably for many, experiencing this tranquillity for the first time despite years spent walking the same pathways. If your bubble is within walking distance of Arrowtown’s main street, walk it. If you are lucky enough to live close to Queenstown’s Botanical Gardens, do not miss this once in a lifetime zen moment.
There is no question visitors from around New Zealand and the world understand the underlying baseline of natural beauty that gives us the status of a ‘special place’. What we the human inhabitants have done is layer it, harnessed nature, iced the cake. Hiking and biking trails, white water rafting and jetboating, snow sports, bungy, skydiving, scenic gondolas, and lake excursions to name a fraction. Topped with quality hospitality, underscored by world leading viticulture.
Of course, it is true, such things are available all over the planet, but to mix it all together in one ‘special place’ is the jewel, and it is the magnet that will always attract visitors back to Queenstown. Make no mistake, we are in for some serious pain, but we must harness this enforced circuit breaker and take the opportunity.
Opportunity to generate capacity headroom in council infrastructure. Resize council to reflect the new level of activity and to become a facilitator of entrepreneurship. Diversify our economy with the advancement of technology and repurpose commercial spaces. Reintroduce locally owned niche businesses to the CBD. Use Queenstown Airport as a port for aircraft servicing the Wakatipu, not a wannabe regional aviation, rental car, and retail hub. And so the list goes on.
At what other time do we get the chance to see the past, acknowledge the faults and deficiencies and now go back to chart a new path. The discipline of lockdown has taught us how to work and communicate differently, appreciate our physical surroundings, and give us the time and space to wonder. What happens next and how much better it could be, is up to us.