Councillor fights for bylaw review for Queenstown stallholders

by Lauren Pattemore - Feb 16, 2024

Although councillor Niki Gladding has heard from Queenstown Lakes District Council staff there was nothing wrong with a bylaw review process that has curtailed trade for stallholders on Queenstown's lakefront, she says "it's not the end of it".

Councillor Gladding will now take her concerns further, saying a discussion on the bylaw is scheduled to take place at an upcoming council workshop.

"Councillors can choose to make things happen, so we just have to go to that workshop and see what everyone's thinking is and see what we want to do about it."

A bylaw revision has made business tougher for owners of pop-up stalls on Queenstown's lakefront.

Issues have arisen for lakefront traders as a result of a few last-minute additions to the 'Activities in Public Places Bylaw 2023' after a draft went out for consultation.

The changes require stallholders to move every hour and space themselves 50 metres apart when setting up shop in public spaces.

However, Councillor Gladding has sought answers from council chief executive Mike Theelen on the validity of the process, as those potentially impacted by the new rules never got to have their say on them.

Instead, for many, the first they heard of them was from council enforcement officers doing the rounds of market stalls a few days before Christmas, informing that enforcement would start in the following week or so.

Councillor Gladding says the initial response to her enquiry is that the correct process was followed.

"Personally I think we should do a bylaw review because the review we did...I don't know if we got the feedback we probably needed."

She says councillors and staff should've gone out to stallholders and local businesses and asked them what the issues were. 

"Some of the questions might be, 'What kind of stalls do we want to allow down there?', 'Where should the different types of stalls go?', 'How many permits should we issue?'."

Previously, stallholders have told Crux of overcrowding issues, exacerbated in their opinion by how easy it is to get a trading license from the council.

Councillor Gladding says it's wrong to try and to solve a congestion issue by asking stallholders to move every hour as the current bylaw has attempted to do. 

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