Mayor backs Wanaka fi­bre

Com­mu­nity sup­port pre­req­ui­site for $120k con­tri­bu­tion

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By DEB­BIE JAMIESON

The Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil will not sign off on a pos­si­ble six-fig­ure con­tri­bu­tion to Wanaka’s ul­tra­fast broad­band pro­gramme un­til June 30 next year, Mayor Vanessa van Uden con­firmed. The town’s busi­ness com­mu­nity has wel­comed a fund­ing pack­age that will en­able the town to have ul­tra­fast broad­band in­stalled af­ter miss­ing out on gov­ern­ment fund­ing due to its size. The deal will see the coun­cil and telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­fra­struc­ture com­pany Cho­rus fund the next-gen­er­a­tion fi­bre roll­out. Cho­rus gen­eral man­ager of mar­ket­ing and sales, Vic­to­ria Crone, said the fi­nan­cial de­tails were con­fi­den­tial. "They’re fund­ing a bit and we’re fund­ing a bit more, " she said. Ms van Uden said there was still more work to be done to fi­nalise the coun­cil con­tri­bu­tion but about $120,000 had been dis­cussed. Her­self and deputy mayor Lyal Cocks had meet with the group be­hind the push, she said. ‘‘We sup­port the idea and think it’s a great thing for Wanaka and we will sup­port putting it for­ward to the draft an­nual plan for con­sul­ta­tion with the com­mu­nity. The wider coun­cil has to sup­port that and the com­mu­nity has to sup­port it.’’ If it was ap­proved, the fund­ing would be avail­able on July 1, next year. ‘‘The other thing that’s re­ally cool is here’s a town that didn’t get UFB and they’ve got off their back­sides and gone and found a way to do it,’’ she said. Cham­ber of Com­merce chair­man Alis­tair King said the roll­out had the po­ten­tial to change the face of Wanaka’s econ­omy. Tra­di­tion­ally it had been fo­cused on tourism and an in­vest­ment in tech­nol­ogy was seen as an op­por­tu­nity to grow. "Our vi­sion is for Wanaka to de­velop as a world-class in­no­va­tion hub. We al­ready have en­trepreneurs with bril­liant ideas liv­ing and work­ing here. Now is the time to harness, share and pro­mote this cul­ture for the ben­e­fit of the town’s econ­omy as our pop­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to grow." In the first stage of the agreed plan, more than 160 cen­tral busi­nesses, boarded by Ard­more, Dun­gar­von and Brown­ston streets, would be con­nected to the Cho­rus net­work by mid-2014. Stages 2 and 3 were likely to con­nect com­mer­cial ar­eas around An­der­son and Ballantyne roads, then out­ly­ing res­i­den­tial ar­eas. The work­ing group be­hind the deal was also com­pet­ing in Cho­rus’s year-long Gi­ga­town com­pe­ti­tion, in which the win­ner would be the first com­mu­nity in the south­ern hemi­sphere to get a onegi­ga­bit-a- sec­ond in­ter­net con­nec­tion.

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