Grow­ing the po­ten­tial of a great place

Back­ing sus­tain­able growth

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS -

Had an in­ter­est­ing dis­cus­sion with some Queen­stown peo­ple the other day. We were talk­ing about the ‘‘G’’ word.

It seemed to us that Queen­stown­ers gen­er­ally have a greater ap­petite to grow their town but more lim­ited op­tions to do so while Wanaka had huge growth po­ten­tial but stronger re­sis­tance from many liv­ing here.

It’s pretty ob­vi­ous with our north-fac­ing town­ship and acres and acres of land still within the Cardrona and Clutha River bound­aries that there’s noth­ing to stop our town from eas­ily dou­bling, or more, in size.

Prob­a­bly the only rea­son it hasn’t hap­pened al­ready is be­cause of a lack of jobs.

It’s in­ter­est­ing when I talk with other lo­cals about growth how of­ten the term ‘‘sus­tain­able growth’’ comes up.

But what does sus­tain­able growth mean?

To me it means we need to have suf­fi­cient in­fra­struc­ture in place to han­dle more peo­ple and jobs for them to do once they are here. Some oth­ers seem to think of sus­tain­able growth as snail-pace growth or no growth at all.

Many lo­cals sim­ply don’t want to think of Wanaka with 15,000 or more res­i­dents.

They say it won’t be the same. Well the lake, the views and great weather are not go­ing any­where.

The trick is to con­tinue to at­tract the right sort of peo­ple who value those things and who want to be part of the vi­brant com­mu­nity we cur­rently have here.

And one way to en­sure that is to have good pay­ing jobs avail­able.

It wasn’t long ago that Wanaka had just 400 per­ma­nent res­i­dents.

It would have been in­ter­est­ing at the time to have asked some of those peo­ple whether they would like to see Wanaka grow to what it is to­day.

I think there would have been those who said no way and those who would have been right be­hind it.

Sound fa­mil­iar? Per­son­ally, from what I have read of those times, I would rather be liv­ing here now with ev­ery­thing the town cur­rently has to of­fer and the po­ten­tial there is to make it an even greater place to live. ◗ Ed Tay­lor is gen­eral man­ager of War­birds Over Wanaka and reck­ons Wanaka is the best place in the world to live.

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