Frankton Canyon - the proposed Frankton master plan turns Five Mile into a constricted artery

Frankton with the airport

Urban gridlock

QLDC's Frankton Master Plan is the product of work by consultant Boffa Miskell. Because the brief for it insisted that the airport remain and expand in the middle of Frankton Flats, it results in a disjointed jumble.

Strikingly, the main arterial route of Five Mile is planned to be a CBD retail, commercial and high density residential zone with multi-story buildings both sides of the street. This would massively constrict traffic flow and is a critical failure.

The airport’s location would continue to force an increased number of disconnected residential developments throughout the basin, causing all people into vehicles and congested roadways. So much time lost daily in congestion, let alone diminished amenity value, environment and life enjoyment. Thousands of properties would also have their development rights restricted by air noise boundaries. This plus Ladies Mile would further stretch the infrastructure web of sewerage, stormwater, electricity and telecommunications, adding to ratepayer costs.

Choosing this plan means we would forever lose the chance to create a liveable township in this district. 

Constricting our primary artery

Every other town works hard to reroute through-traffic away from the CBD and main retail road. In Queenstown, we’ve had decades of proposals seeking to build a free-flowing route around town to avoid Shotover Street. The latest of these suggests we even bowl Queenstown Memorial Centre just to get the traffic moving.

This plan does the exact opposite by creating the major retail commercial and high density residential zone on the busiest arterial route in our district. It will clog up all the roads in every direction. 

Already, morning commuter traffic is backed up to Lake Hayes Estate. Add twice the population with council proposed developments on Ladies Mile and twice the airport travellers, and then turn this road into a dense retail street and watch everything just stop.

This makes no sense at all, but seems to be an inevitable consequence of refusal to relocate the airport.


Frankton without the airport

A livable alpine village

This vision for Frankton was developed following a Shaping Our Futures forum in Sept 2018. The community characteristics and aspirations at the forum were captured in the words: peaceful, welcoming, passionate, community centred, livable and connected.

This proposal would provide the only township in our district that would have the commercial, cultural, recreational, and educational mix needed for a cohesive community. A vibrant, peaceful and livable community that would become the living, sporting and cultural heart of our district.

As a flat, sunny, substantial and central site, it is our cheapest place to build. It is the most efficient place to locate the sewerage and other infrastructure, with the intensity making it the lowest cost per dwelling of any alternative and using the least construction or operating resources. It would substantially reduce dependency on vehicles and increase the viability of public transport, as well as increasing the use of active options such as cycling, scooters and walking.

Designing walkable urban communities suited to low impact public transport is one of the best ways to mitigate climate change. 

To achieve this we must relocate the airport.  

A great place to live

Work, supermarkets, retail, commercial, schools, sports, recreation, lake, hospital and conference centre are all in walking distance.

The surrounding arterial routes are all free flowing, to ensure easy movement throughout the district .

A central pedestrian park giving visual and physical access to the lake enhances connection in the high density residential centre.

A road and air transport hub at the Shotover River end includes a vertical liftoff zone for general aviation.

Masterplan Magnifies fragmented Frankton


David Jerram is an architect and urban designer, and co-author of the masterplan for redeveloping Queenstown Airport’s land for housing. In this article published in the Mountain Scene he responds to the QLDC and  Boffa Miskell plan.

Frankton Masterplan Submission


John Hilhorst and Cath Gilmour present their views with a comprehensive submission on the Frankton 30 Year Masterplan. You can to scroll through their submission below.