OUR PROJECTS QUEENSTOWN TOWN CENTRE MASTERPLAN

CLIENT: Queenstown Lakes District Council
DATE: 2017 - 2018
STATUS: Directly used to help unlock around $300 million of Central Government investment

The Queenstown Masterplan came about when a long period of under-investment in the town’s infrastructure inevitably collided with an ongoing period of unprecedented and sustained population growth. This combined with exponential growth in the tourism industry saw Queenstown reach a point where its network performance and customer experience began to fail.

In 2017, Queenstown was under enormous pressure. On a normal day, the Wakatipu Ward had a population of just over 27,000 people. However, during a peak day in high season, Queenstown would become the eighth largest centre in New Zealand. Looking ahead to 2050, it could be the size Tauranga is today.

This resulted in consistent problems around congestion, access, 'liveability', loss of heritage and culture and reduced quality of experience in the Town Centre.

WHAT DID WE DO?

Rationale worked closely with QLDC to lead a multi-disciplinary team to identify and address a number of growth-related challenges arising in the Queenstown Town Centre. The team developed a Masterplan that, for the first time, considered a complex set of projects in an integrated and spatially-based way. This way of working has had a positive influence on the way QLDC approaches its work to plan for future growth.

Rationale directed the process and navigated the team through the Better Business Case (BBC) framework to develop a Masterplan Programme Business Case. The use of the Treasury approved BBC approach was crucial in that it provided a recognised investment framework and allowed the team to ensure the project was evidence driven. This was an innovative approach for QLDC, resulting in a steep change in how large, complex projects of this nature are approached.

Urban Design experts LandLAB worked within the project team to develop a spatial framework that sat alongside the Masterplan. This spatial thinking provided a new way of understanding a complex range of infrastructural requirements for Queenstown and allowed the project team to easily communicate what the Masterplan was trying to achieve to a wide audience.

Community and stakeholder engagement were integral to the success of the Masterplan. With such a complex and integrated project, it became very clear in the early stages that a simple, effective and innovative communications approach was going to be a make or break for the project. Importantly, the community has not only been brought along for the ride, but their input has been incorporated into the journey and shaped the process from start to finish.

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WHAT WAS THE RESULT?

In 2020, the Masterplan was directly used to support over $85M of central government investment to fund for the Queenstown Town Centre ($35m) project and Stage One of the Queenstown Arterials ($50m). This funding is expected to help unlock around $300 million of projects in the Queenstown and directly create about 320 jobs.

The Masterplan was unanimously endorsed by Council in June 2018, as part of QLDC’s 2018-28 Ten Year Plan, initiating a $327M investment programme over 35 years. The approval, buoyed by widespread community support, speaks volumes of the approach taken by the team. The level of continued investment in projects identified in the Masterplan, and wider infrastructural planning in the district, continues to demonstrate the value of the process.

The Masterplan has offered a greater degree of confidence to investors, both in the public and private sectors. By offering up a clear 30-year vision for Queenstown’s Town Centre and wider district, QLDC has seen a range of partnerships form and projects gain momentum in the past 12 months.

QLDC, the Otago Regional Council and New Zealand Transport Agency have formalised their collaborative working relationship in Queenstown with the formation of the ‘Way to Go’ partnership. This group recognises that all three agencies have important roles to play in driving change and improvements to the district’s transport network.

 

I am writing to express my thanks for the energy and expertise Rationale put into helping QLDC develop a Masterplan Programme for Queenstown’s Town Centre. The Masterplan provides a vision and direction for development of our town centre through to 2050 and it brings together a range of roading, public and passenger transport, commercial building and public realm improvement projects aimed at delivering a thriving, productive and vibrant town centre now and into the future. With Edward Guy as the Programme Director, we managed to overcome many challenges that would have held this type of planning back in the past. Edward and his teams’ ability to support QLDC in setting the direction and working through problems with our stakeholders was pivotal in ensuring we met our deadlines and the programme and supporting business cases received the endorsement of our Councillors.

AWARDS:

  • IPWEA Award – Excellence in Strategic Planning (2018)
  • NZILA Award of Excellence in Strategic Landscape Planning (2019)
  • World Architecture News (WAN) Future Project: Urban Design Award Finalist (2018)
  • World Architecture Festival (WAF) Masterplanning Future Project Award Finalist (2018)
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