Ladies Mile: councillors vote for slow, managed option

by Peter Newport - Oct 28, 2021

QLDC councillors voted this afternoon to stick with the council’s $1.4 million Ladies Mile masterplan rather than abandon the land to property developers and the Resource Management Act.

Debate this afternoon centred on traffic management, preserving wildlife and even managing short term visitor accommodation. The consensus was that higher density housing is needed in the district but only when these issues were addressed, a process that could take ten to fifteen years.

Councillor Esther Whitehead pushed through amendments to the council manager’s preferred strategy that focussed on the management of short-term visitor accommodation and protection of birdlife in the area.

Today's council meeting was held online due to ongoing Level 2 Covid restrictions

Councillor Val Miller claimed that the reason the community had not supported the masterplan was that they did not know what had taken place behind closed doors between the council and the masterplan consortium.

Councillor Penny Clark spoke against the protection of wildlife plan as being something that would be expensive and time consuming.

Eventually the visitor accommodation and birdlife amendments were passed – 6 votes to 4.

Mayor Jim Boult declared that he did not want the development of Ladies Mile to go ahead but that it would be “naïve” to think development could be stopped. He repeated earlier promises that development would not move forwards without proper solutions to traffic congestion being in place.

Councillor Craig “Ferg” Ferguson cast a gloomy note by saying the Ladies Mile situation would not end well and was “the perfect storm” of development vs. community.

Here is the final motion as accepted by today’s council meeting.

 Note the contents of this report.

  1. Note that work undertaken since the 29 July 2021 report to Council has confirmed that:
  2. While the masterplan outcomes will support modal shift, transport demand management and travel behaviour changes, it will not on its own alleviate the current traffic congestion issues that occur at peak times;
  3. Managing traffic congestion at Te Pūtahi - Ladies Mile and across the Queenstown network requires a district wide transport intervention approach to be delivered by the Queenstown Lakes District Council, Waka Kotahi and the Otago Regional Council, with an extensive programme being planned for but which currently has funding uncertainty; and
  4. Development on Ladies Mile is likely to span 10-15 years allowing interventions to occur alongside any development.
  5. Adopt the masterplan, noting the following matters are yet to be resolved:
  6. The management and funding for stormwater across the site; and
  7. The location of the high school and;
  8. A further ecological plan to be proposed and analysed as part of the masterplan, which will consider an avifauna corridor habitat between the two water bodies of Lake Hayes and Shotover River.
  9. Note that If Council continues with a Council led approach and adopts the masterplan, then the next steps would be to report back at the February 2022 Council meeting with:
  10. Completion of the outstanding matters identified in 3 a. and 3 b. above and the final masterplan.
  11. The final draft planning provisions and supporting Section 32 assessment that would ensure delivery of the masterplan including consideration of:
  12.      Restrictions on residential visitor accommodation and;
  13.      Discouraging cats because of endangered avifauna presence.
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