New Year’s resolution
January 10 2022 by David Gibbs
New Year’s resolution
Hands up who expected 2021 to be a much better year than 2020.
I know I did and in many ways it was, but it was also another very tough year for nearly everyone I’ve spoken to, regardless of whether they’re a business owner or resident. Every time there was light at the end of the tunnel, it turned out to be a train bearing a Greek letter. There are nine left in the Greek alphabet after Omicron, so to speculate that 2022 is going to better than the last two is not something I’m game to do. I’d much rather say ‘what will be will be’, especially as on Sunday the Ministry of Health named two locations of interest in Queenstown, where a person with Covid-19 visited over New Year.
But, I believe we must continue to look for the positives this year, especially with regards to what’s going well in our community.
Once again in 2021, it was humbling to see how locals pulled together, whether it was to support struggling friends, family, neighbours and local businesses, or through volunteer work, philanthropy, charity donations, Trust grants and mental health initiatives. Mental health, in particular, continues to be an insidious unseen enemy for so many, but with new programmes and our collective heightened awareness, it’s something we’re beginning to tackle.
There’s also been no slowdown in the number of people choosing to make Queenstown Lakes their home. Every community in the region is booming, there are new families everywhere. Next month will see the new school at Jack Point / Hanley’s Farm open its doors, while others look to continue to expand. I worry about the infrastructure and roads keeping apace, but a rapidly expanding population will help underpin businesses, while tourism remains domestic.
Even when the borders reopen, it’s obvious tourism won’t be the same. Every new business not linked directly to tourism will help to build a robust, sustainable economy. The massive studio complex approved for Wanaka and the tech centre at Remarkables Park, for example, are going to radically help diversify the region’s economy. The council’s economic development group is pushing hard to attract high paying industries. It will take time but the initial results are encouraging.
The controversial streets upgrades also has its positives. Like everyone else, I’ve been very frustrated by the pace and disruption, but we are now getting glimpses of how it will all look, with the reopening of Lower Beach St. The barricades are also coming down at O’Connells and there are new retail options in Brecon St and Five Mile. We even have a new Southern Cross hospital and there has been something of the old buzz about the district since the New Year began, with flights in the skies and people on the streets again. And the forecast is for another three months of sun.
While it’s hard to forecast what 2022 will bring, there’s plenty of hope for our community.
Happy New Year everyone.
Queenstown Media Group