Arrowtown all fired up as planter boxes and bike parks installed

by Lauren Pattemore - May 22, 2024

Black planter boxes and bike racks have been installed on Arrowtown's Buckingham Street, and they've created a social media storm on a local residents page.

The planter boxes appear to be approximately one and a half metres wide, and placed on raised concrete platforms outside shops on the main drag.

However, they're not quite finished yet, the Arrowtown Promotion and Business Associations says.

A statement from the business group has come in response to a Facebook post today (Wednesday, May 22), where someone asks how the planter boxes "enhance the authenticity of our historic Main Street" - and it has already attracted more than 120 comments. 

The Facebook poster inquires what the price tag for the project is, describing it as "madness". 

Another person in the comments referenced a similar planter-box stoush between residents and the council, up in Mapua. The boxes were removed after nine months.

"To think these could've been built out of reclaimed schist/rock to match the gutters," another commented. 

"Ugly, ugly. So much for consultation with the residents of Arrowtown."

But those behind the new look are pushing back, saying the planter boxes and associated bike racks have been in discussion for while now and will provide a much-needed amenity. 

They have been co-funded by the Arrowtown Promotion and Business Association (APBA), the Arrowtown Village Association, the Arrowtown Planning Advisory Group and the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

APBA chair Benje Patterson says the racks are designed to cater to residents of the town, employees who commute on bikes, and visitors.

"This is directly in response to feedback from the Arrowtown business community and is consistent with the strategic direction of destination management approaches across the (Whakatipu) basin more broadly."

He says there's still work to come on the new additions, which fill a purpose.

"One key benefit is to slow down visitors and encourage them to come up from the trails to interact with the main street and spend more with local businesses." 

Arrowtown has become a central hub for bikers, with both locals and visitors enjoying the "world class trails" that can be accessed from the village, he says.

Queenstown Lakes District councillor and Arrowtown resident Lisa Guy was quick to jump on the post and defend the structures, stressing they weren't yet finished, and asking residents to "calm the farm".

"It's something I'm growing sadly very used to in these Facebook forums."

In the comments, Councillor Guy thanks those involved in the project and tells commenters that commercial ratepayers in the Arrowtown business district would have been aware of "the three years of work to get these in the village" through monthly emails. 

She says the cortene steel is designed to rust and age to fit the Arrowtown aesthetic.

Councillor Guy says she will be making herself available at the Arrowtown library the last Friday of every month at 11am to hear from residents - suggesting people are often quick to take to Facebook but slower to listen and engage in other ways.

"I'm here and, like the bike racks, I’m not going anywhere at this point. I’d suggest giving things a chance - perhaps pull your bike outta the garage and give them a try."

It's the second time this month a change to Arrowtown's main street has caused an online kerfuffle, with the council pitching the closure of the road for construction work as a chance to trial and received feedback on a more pedestrian-friendly set up the first one. 

Main image (Facebook/Arrowtown Community/Neville Broadbent): The new planter boxes everyone is talking about in Arrowtown today, Wednesday May 22, 2024.

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