Mayor Boult distances himself from Ladies Mile development

Jul 06, 2021

In this opinion piece published on Tuesday July 6 by the Lakes Weekly Bulletin, Mayor Jim Boult appears to be distancing himself from proposals to develop SH6/Ladies Mile.

"Most of you will know that Council has recently been consulting on the future development of the northern side of our beloved Ladies Mile. This has caused quite a lot of contention around the district – understandably so for a variety of reasons.

The comments herein are my own personal views and should not be taken as a Council view point. It is simply how I see things.

Mayor Jim Boult - opposed to any further worsening of traffic conditions.

I’ve lived at Lake Hayes for coming up 40 years. This was long before Shotover Country, Lake Hayes Estate or the Country Club were developed. In those days Ladies Mile was effectively a drive in the country. As we all know however, things never stay the same and we now have the southern side of Ladies Mile, pretty much fully developed. Land owners on the northern side understandably wish to do the same.

A couple of years ago Council rejected a number of proposals for development in the area on the basis that it would see piecemeal development rather than a cohesive planned development of the area which would include amenities such as a shopping area and schools. It would also ensure that a roading system existed through the area linked up and was public transport friendly.

Council staff undertook much work in this regard and in general, it’s very good. However, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I cannot personally support any further development in the area until Council, Waka Kotahi NZTA and ORC can collectively deliver a transport solution that addresses the needs of a growing community.

Recently, I took 22 minutes to travel the length of Ladies Mile. Some say to me that if you lived in Auckland that would be perfectly acceptable. We don’t however live in Auckland and those of us that live here expect better. The current proposals to address the congestion call for far greater use of public transport and active transport – walking and cycling. I’m a 100% supporter of public transport and think our $2 bus system is excellent. However, the reality is that it is going to take a very long time to shift people from private vehicles to public transport. Travel is of course one of our biggest challenges. It is a major contributor of carbon emissions in the district, so we not only need to deliver a sustainable transport system, but also as individuals we need to rethink how we choose to travel.

One of the key aspects of the draft masterplan is that urban density will better support public transport, while delivering schools, employment and retail activity into the Ladies Mile area reducing travel demand. That’s entirely correct. However, there’s no point in saying that development should take place and then find a solution to the transport issues – it absolutely needs to be the other way around.

The land on the northern side of Ladies Mile is owned by individual developers and they are entitled to pursue development on their own account. If Council’s plans do not come together then individual owners will pursue their own developments. For that reason, it is essential that we resolve these transport issues with haste.

I say again, these are my personal views and not reflective of elected members or council generally. I do not wish to see an inevitable further deterioration of travel times and grid lock."

Mayor Jim Boult - July 6th.

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  • The Missing Moose : 7/07/2021, 9:03 am (23 months ago)

    Thank you so much Crux for your continued coverage of this important topic.

    I oppose the masterplan and any intensive development of ladies mile. However, its baffling how council have not been able to articulate the cause for it other than by saying the counterfactual is private development.

    Boult says the nothern side of ladies mile is owned by developers. Is that actually the case? If I was in council and I honestly truly feared private development I would show what proportion of the land is owned by developers, who they are, see what their aspirations are for their land, and communicate that to the public. If there are (say) 15 landowners out of 17 on the ladies stretch that are developers, who bought with the intention of sale or development, that are itching to develop and often in communication with each other to development, and have or are drawing up plans to develop - that should be communicated to the public. It's easy to just say there are some developers - ANYONE with land is a developer if the price is right. but the public should needs decision quality information on different outcomes.

    Perhaps there are only a few developers and many or most owners are happy with the status quo, to hold on for another 10 years, enjoy the rural/farming income, etc. And thus there is no imminent threat of substantial uncontrolled development. Or perhaps there is.

    We don't know because QLDC won't lay out an articulatable case for ladies mile and in the absence of that (and traffic solutions) the whole thing should go away.