Funding not long-term fix
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.’’
Tourists at Lake Hayes Estate camping ground in Queenstown.