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Editorial

How to kill a town

June 21 2021 by Jeff Hylton

I have just been listening to the drama proposed for Wellington on talkback radio and hearing the venting from business owners totally affected by the proposed no cars in the CBD.

In principle, it is a wonderful idea and very cool for pedestrians, and the world will be a better place. However, people (local businesspeople) suffer first for the benefit of others further down the line.

Queenstown would be one of those places that is under great stress, not because of covid and not because of a lack of visitors, and not because local shop owners can’t run a successful business. No, it is our council that is completely responsible for closing off most of the CBD and causing all that stress to local business owners.

I’m not saying the Queenstown CBD road and underground infrastructure upgrade work doesn’t need to be done and will one day improve our lives, the problem is they are hiring contractors that won’t work to suite the requirements. Which is… to Get The Job Done!!

When so much disruption and economic loss is at stake, these contracts should have stipulated that the work is 24/7 until completed. Or start at 6pm till 6am like they would anywhere else in the world where the economy of the CBD is at risk. Including in New Zealand in places like Auckland.

But not here. This seems to be how a Queenstown contractor operates…Start, stand around, finish early, put up cones 7 days a week but don’t work the weekend. What a cluster —-k. Very few of these people would keep a job with me. And I’m also talking about QLDC councillors who must have some say in the outcome of all this renovation. And obviously the contract managers at council.

Yep, I understand, you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, but, come on. Parking spaces are disappearing, fences and CONES take up more space daily and the poor businesses are suffering, especially in Beach Street. Turnovers are hugely down, from covid, then road works, and only a few landlords are still compensating. So even they are affected by the poor management of these projects which have months and months to go. Does anyone in our council realise the hardship and anger and frustration these business owners are going through?

They (the contractors) would be finished now if they actually worked with the intention of completing asap. But no. They must be in Queenstown for the lifestyle. How to kill the Queenstown CBD, and promote 5 Mile. I wonder if that was the intention all along.

Jeff Hylton, retailer for 22 years, town sheriff for 44 years…...

- Jeff Hylton