Issue #950

LWB Issue 950 v2

All about Arrowtown

by Scott Stevens

There is something magical yet simple about the Arrowtown Autumn Festival. Perhaps the magic is the simplicity. Thousands of people, visitors and locals alike, flooded into this quaint little village on the Northwest corner of the Whakatipu Basin over ANZAC weekend. Why? To look at trees, smile, laugh and cheer the classic kiwi community spirit that has driven this festival for decades. Nothing flashy, just kids (and adults) having fun. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Success in a nutshell, on a golden wilding tree leaf.

Here lays the conundrum for Arrowtown. We have a very active environmentally focussed community who are passionate about eradicating wilding trees on the hills above the village. Douglas Fir we can all do without, chop chop. However many of the rest are the very reason for this magical display, that drives not only a fun long weekend of festivities, but also economically drives the marketing of the entire district over the months of April and May.

Where to stop the chop, is the question the local community is asking itself. Wilding tree control is a massive issue here, as it is in Central Otago and the Mackenzie Basin too. Everywhere that rolling tussock country is easily invaded by wilding trees.

Drawing a line around Arrowtown will of course require ongoing control above the line. That comes at a cost. But is the cost worth it for the kind of magic Arrowtown is famous for at this time of year. I am 100% sure it is. Chop the Douglas Fir and leave the Autumn colours. Tens of thousands of visitors, along with the marketing people at the APBA and DQ, along with all our local businesses that get an autumn colour sugar rush, will also agree, it would be absolute insanity to kill this golden goose.

Speaking of golden geese, Arrowtown has also been making news for its ‘shared use trial’ of the main street recently. Complete pedestrianisation is complete nonsense and not one single resident I know supports this. So you have to wonder, why open up a “let’s talk” conversation on the topic?

It’s our town, we live here. We drive down the main street, admittedly very slowly, and always have since the days of horse and cart. This makes it a real-life, working, hustle and bustle main street, not a fake, empty tourist attraction. Will the bureaucrats sitting in City Hall (Queenstown) just stop trying to kill this magical little village. Pedestrianised main street becomes a vacant “Mall” surrounded by 12 metre high penthouse holiday homes for Aussies and Aucklanders. Neat. This does not sound like a great little village atmosphere that has worked so well for 162 years.

Traffic calming is fine, tidy up our muddy fringes for sure. Big tick and our appreciation for that. But the last thing we need is to turn off the local engagement with our CBD. We don’t need to look very far, just over there, in Queenstown Bay, to see how cutting locals out of the CBD works for heart and soul of a town.

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The Lakes Weekly is part of Queenstown Media Group (QMG).

QMG is Queenstown’s leading locally owned and operated media company with print, online and social platforms that engage locals with what they care about — everything local!

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The Lakes Weekly is hand delivered to every business in Queenstown, Arrowtown, Frankton, Five Mile Remarkables Park and Glenda Drive on Tuesday. Copies are available in service stations, libraries and drop boxes throughout the region and every supermarket throughout the Queenstown basin and Wanaka.

Online the issue is available Monday afternoon, on and the Qtn App.


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