Yesterday I presented at the Plan Change Hearing for Three Parks in Wanaka.

It is disappointing that a local developer and the Queenstown Lakes District Council would entertain the retail park concept for Wanaka. I think it shows a severe lack of appreciation and understanding of what Wanaka is about. Wanaka is a world class destination that attracts people to a stunning setting that supports a laid back social scene devoid of the consumer mentality. One of the common reasons you hear that people are attracted to live or holiday in Wanaka is that there is a real sense of community and that life is somewhat simpler and easier without the corporate retailers encouraging everybody to keep up with the Joneses.

Splitting the town centre into two and creating separate tourist and local sectors will severely impact on our community. Wanaka needs to maintain its point of difference to Queenstown, having choices is what makes this region unique, Wanaka, Queenstown, Arrowtown and Frankton are all attractions in their own right, it would be foolish to try become a clone of Queenstown.

One Response

  1. It’s not just about being a clone of Queenstown. Retail parks are really good at transferring land value and destroying town centres. I come from Hastings in the UK and the development of retail parks there have had a very obvious impact on the quality of the downtown experience. An even better example in Scotland is Wick. There you can see an almost dysfunctional but beautifully historic town centre only two kilometers from two of the most depressing strip malls you’d ever want to see.
    Wake up Wanaka, they’re chipping away at your precious little corner of the world.

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