Posts Tagged 'Three Parks'

Three Parks Retail Park and Second Town Centre

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

The bad news for the community of Wanaka is that the council appointed commissioners have given the green light for the big box second town centre, this is a real shame as it is a completely unimaginative solution to the growth needs of the Upper Clutha’s retail needs, it is the lowest common denominator of retail.

It is no surprise really, having worked closely with the council planning department, it has been apparent for the last four years that this is the direction they have committed all policy towards. In this sense the Plan Change Hearing just satisfied ‘due process’ rather than questioning was this the solution for Wanaka. This is demonstrated by the fact that the hearing had only two commissioners, one who works for the council planning department and another a layperson who is on the councils Wanaka Community Board. I have attended smaller Plan Change Hearings where there have been 5 or more commissioners, each independent and each bringing in their own expertise on infrastructure , planning , policy etc.

The good news is that apparently there are conditions placed on the consent, limiting size of development and conducting ‘health checks’ on the town centre. This is a new concept and how effective it is remains to be seen, I am skeptical as there is no current baseline information on the health of the town centre . There is lots of money to be made developing Greenfield sites, so it will be worth investing in consultants to work around whatever health checks there are.

My only hope is that both market conditions and market competitors will put this proposal at bay for some time, in the short term expect an over sized Mitre 10 or Mitre 10 Mega and a Nichols Graden Centre in this area. Hopefully there will be a change in retail trends over time that make this cookie cutter retail park solution unviable. Local developer Roger Gardiner spoke to a number of national corporate retailers prior to the plan change hearing and they noted that Wanaka was not on the radar yet, and even if it was they would want to be in the existing town centre even if it meant adapting to a smaller store. The other positive is that the council are implementing some of the town centre strategy that was developed in 2009; unfortunately the councils coffers have been severely diminished with the current economic conditions. However at least it is underway, and it pre-empts a ‘Main Street’ program on the existing town centre that would usually be implemented after the negative effects of Stand Alone Retail Parks.


Three Parks Big Box Retail Park

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Yesterday I presented at the Plan Change Hearing for Three Parks in Wanaka. It is dissapointing 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 mentallity. 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 diference 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.