Sir John Davies on council HQ plan: 'The most short-sighted thing in 20 years'

by Peter Newport - Dec 07, 2023

Four former Queenstown Lakes District Council mayors have come out against the council’s current plan for a grand new CBD office and civic precinct in a joint letter to the current mayor and councillors.

In an interview with Crux today former mayor Sir John Davies calls the proposal "bloody ridiculous".

“I think it's just the most short-sighted thing I've ever heard of in 20 years. They just don't seem to get their head around it, that Queenstown itself is just for tourists. I feel there's a bit of a 'build a monument to me, I'm going to build a building in town'.

Sir John also expressed concerns about increasing congestion on Frankton Road and the hundreds of council staff that would need to continue to travel on it to and from work if the CBD plan is stuck to.

"It’s beyond belief to me.

“They’re $600 million in debt. Nobody at the council seems to bloody understand business or have any business acumen.”

Sir John explained to Crux the four mayors “just all got together and said 'this is crazy and somebody needs to step in'".

The letter proposes that the new QLDC council offices be built on land purchased for $14 million by the council four years ago at 516 Ladies Mile. The land is not currently being used and no decision has yet been made on a future plan for it. 

The QLDC's land at 516 Ladies Mile today, December 7. Locked with no future plans in place.

The letter was signed by Warren Cooper, Clive Geddes and Vanessa Van Uden, in addition to Sir John.

Here’s the letter in full:


Crux has approached Mayor Glyn Lewers and council chief executive Mike Theelen for comment.

Read more:

Consultation begins on next steps for new QLDC headquarters

Ladies Mile $14m toxic mould house plans shelved until March

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