A think piece on QLDC’s challenges with the 21-24 NLTP and the road ahead. Alison Tomlinson, Queenstown Lakes DC


Over the last decade the Queenstown Lakes District has faced rapid growth in residential population, commercial development and visitors; the investment in infrastructure had not kept pace and resulted in a deficit of infrastructure that does not meet the community need.  Our transport system is one of the key areas that needs addressing.   QLDC have been working collaboratively with the community and our investment partners to strategise, plan and develop programmes to address our infrastructure needs.
In 2020 we were ready for the 2021-24 NLTP and primed to start the ‘doing’.  Then the Covid 19 pandemic happened.  In the busiest part of our funding cycle, we, like the rest of NZ were faced with responding to the pandemic.  Lockdown brought conflict between family and work lives, others faced with uncertainty for the future as unemployment and changing work practices became part of business as usual.   The outlook wasn’t good, as COVID and the resulting border closures had shone a spotlight on the community’s enormous reliance on tourism.  Suddenly, our district went from boom heading towards what looked like inevitable bust.
For our NLTP (and LTP) submission, our local funding was challenged and as we looked towards our investment partners, the funding opportunities look bleak.  But, the need for investment is still there, and it needs to enable the ambitions for a new district – more sustainable tourism, economic diversification and tackling climate change.
So, where do we go from here?

Senior Asset manager (Transportation) at Queenstown Lakes District Council. 
Alison has been at QLDC for five years, living in the paradise that is Wanaka.  Although from Wellington, NZ, she spent her early career living and working in North Wales, UK.  After stints with parks, highway maintenance and street works, she developed and led the Conwy County Borough Council’s first Highways asset management team.  This was soon expanded to include asset management services and asset system management to the neighbouring Denbighshire County  Council and later expanded to council’s non highway assets.   Alison has a strong belief in evidence led decision making and that good data underpins those decisions.