Fund­ing not long-term fix

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JO MCKEN­ZIE-MCLEAN

The tourism min­is­ter has ‘‘de­liv­ered the goods’’ with a $178 mil­lion fund­ing boost to sup­port in­fra­struc­ture for tourists, but it will not solve the prob­lem longterm, Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict mayor Jim Boult says.

Tourism Min­is­ter Paula Ben­nett an­nounced a new $102 mil­lion Tourism In­fra­struc­ture Fund on Thurs­day, as well as $76 mil­lion in new fund­ing for the DOC es­tate.

Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict mayor Jim Boult said the ex­tra fund­ing was some­thing the in­dus­try had been push­ing for a long time and he was ‘‘de­lighted’’ the min­is­ter had lis­tened. How­ever, a tourist levy was still the best way pay for in­fra­struc­ture needed in the long-term.

‘‘I am still very much in favour of a tourist levy. While the im­pe­tus to have a tourist levy will go off the ta­ble a lit­tle as a re­sult of the Govern­ment’s ex­cel­lent de­ci­sion, longer term we will need to keep ad­dress­ing that be­cause a levy is the per­ma­nent so­lu­tion to the is­sue.’’

There were a num­ber of projects the coun­cil would ‘‘bring to the ta­ble’’ in the hope of ac­cess­ing some of the new fund­ing, par­tic­u­larly around road­ing and trans­port. The level of growth was also putting pres­sure on the ‘‘three wa­ters’’ which re­quired con­tin­ued spend­ing, he said.

’’It is go­ing to ease the pres­sure on ratepay­ers to fund that in­fra­struc­ture that is re­quired for our vis­i­tor in­dus­try.’’

Cen­tral Otago Dis­trict mayor Tim Cado­gan said the fund­ing in­crease would have a ‘‘sig­nif­i­cant im­pact’’ in the re­gion.

‘‘It is a heck of a lot more than we had be­fore...I guess time will tell whether it is enough.’’

The coun­cil al­ready had made fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for so­lar pow­ered com­pactable rub­bish bins, as well as ex­tra toi­let fa­cil­i­ties in Cromwell.

‘‘Whether we are suc­cess­ful with that, we won’t know un­til next month...I guess we have to wait and see how it gets rolled out but we will be turn­ing up with another wish list as soon as the op­por­tu­nity arises.’’

More fund­ing was only part of the so­lu­tion deal­ing with free­dom campers, he said.

‘‘We have is­sues with campers not us­ing toi­let blocks even when they are there.’’

DASHA KUPRIENKO / FAIRFAX NZ

Tourists at Lake Hayes Es­tate camp­ing ground in Queen­stown.

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