December, 2017The Queenstown Lakes District Council was asked to include $41.5
million of funding for a new council building and a library space in next
year's draft long-term plan at its meeting in Queenstown this month.
Council chief executive Mike Theelen said building one office for the
council had been on the local authority's books since 1989.
"The decision sits with council, but my sense is there is the leadership,
drive and vision to make this much-needed asset a reality,' he said.
Corporate services general manager Meaghan Miller said the business
case for 'Project Connect' was based on the council's decision last year
to develop a proposal for a single office in the Queenstown CBD.
Other locations, like Frankton, had been considered, but placing the
council and library in a central location kept community and
professional services there too and would help sustain the "authenticity
and lifeblood' of the CBD.
The Queenstown Town Centre Masterplan reinforced the need for a
community heart and destination library in the resort, as well as a
proposed Frankton hub library.
An interim space of up to 650sq m was now proposed within the Project
Connect build, which was designed to accommodate growth.
The preferred site continued to be on a section of the Stanley Street
site, presently occupied by open car parks.
"The town centre plan includes a parking building adjacent to the
proposed office and library building, to optimise the parking opportunity
at the gateway to the CBD," Ms Miller said.
"Any new office building and library will need to provide for public car
The key driver for the business case was the community because at
present public service arrangements were not good enough.
"The community deserves better with up to 30 members of the public on
a daily basis travelling from one office to another to complete their
business because council teams are based in multiple locations.
"Additionally, the staff that must waste time walking between offices
will become more efficient and effective.
Affordability was a major challenge but, over time, the proposal would
provide the most affordable long-term cost solution to the community.
The council was proposing to sell its existing Gorge Rd office, which
would off-set the cost of the new building by between $9 million and
Further, the use of council-owned land would remove up to $10 million
from the cost value and add value in terms of 'long-term legacy".
The council also had access to 'favourable' local government loan
"We have been talking about the need for Project Connect through the
last two Annual Plans and have found there is pragmatic support for the
proposal but it wont be hard to find dissenting views," Ms Miller said.
Source: Otago Daily Times
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