Growing the potential of a great place
Backing sustainable growth
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.