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Cautious hopes for new Queenstown marina for next summer


After six years of planning the trio behind plans for a new marina at Frankton, on Lake Wakatipu, face one final hurdle before construction can begin.

Operating as Lake Marina Projects Ltd, Queenstown businessman Alan Kirker and his United States-based business partners Nasser and Iraj Barabi begin have just received consent from the Overseas Investment Office to proceed with their plans.

The lease is worth about $3 million and includes the purchase of 0.7ha of leasehold land at Sugar Lane and a leasehold interest in about 7ha of land at Lake Wakatipu. The lease is with the Queenstown Lakes District Council and the Government.

Kirker said the development now has the necessary resource consents in place and construction is ready to begin. However, the final hurdle was to sign off on a lake bed lease with Land Information New Zealand.

Auctious-hopes-for-marinaAfter some urging he said he hoped it would be built in time for next summer.

"After six years you don't say anything. You just roll with it."

The marina will ultimately have 195 berths and 17 buildings for private and commercial use. 

It would also likely be the first marina in Australasia with single berths, where a boat in its berth could be accessed from the left or right.

Kirker said that would improve security, reduce the possibility of boats damaging each other and look nicer.

The original budget of $10m was blown, but he declined to estimate the new total cost.

The marina was being built to be financially viable but "we're all not going to be driving a Ferrari within a month", Kirker said.

"I think we've got rocks in our head doing this project but it's going to be a great community facility and it will tidy up that area.

"We hope that everybody will benefit from it - those who live here or come here."

He had recently had expressions of interest from Hong Kong and Switzerland.

He had lived in Queenstown for 20 years and his business partners owned property in the area. They held New Zealand residency and were in the process of applying for citizenship.

"You get to a stage in life where you think it's time we do something instead of grumbling about it," Kirker said.

According to a summary of the Overseas Investment Commission decision the overseas investment transaction satisfied the criteria of the act by creating jobs, adding market competition, greater efficiency, greater productivity or enhanced domestic services and providing walking access.