Issue #954

LWB Issue 954 online

Coronet Peak gondola is a no brainer

by Scott Stevens -

When a new Government comes in and starts talking about fast-track consenting and bypassing the Resource Management Act (RMA), long term residents of this region have the right to feel nervous. Just as our land was pillaged and permanently scarred for a quick buck during the gold rush of the 1860’s, the property development gold rushes of the last 25 years are leaving their own permanent scars.

Not all bad, but plenty that would have been a lot worse had the developments both residential and commercial not been put through a vigorous landscape, traffic and design assessment. Despite the obvious housing shortage this region and indeed the country is experiencing, nothing good will come of fast-track consenting poorly located and designed mass housing developments.

However, there is also a potential golden opportunity for our region from sidestepping the RMA. Do you think Queenstown’s Number One tourism experience would exist if it had to work its way through the RMA? I think not. Despite looking rather ugly right now with the logging operations on Bob’s Peak, The Skyline Gondola is just one of those wonderful things that would have been next to impossible to build from scratch if conceived after the RMA came into effect in 1991.

So, my ears pricked up when I heard of plans for a gondola up to Coronet Peak from the valley floor. How good would that be. Not only as a tourism attraction in its own right but as a transport option for those poor unfortunately Aussies and Aucklanders (and some locals who should know better) who turn the ski field road into a dog’s breakfast at 9am on a bluebird powder day. I don’t know about you, but sometimes the fastest way up on a winter morning is to help these poor sods in their rental cars fit their chains, which they have absolutely no idea how to hold let alone put on the vehicle. Even without the need for chains, the very presence of snow on the side of the road plants a level of fear in some drivers who crawl up a perfectly clear road at 10kmph.

Rather than rage, I often put my mind to the “why”. Why is self-driving the best and sometimes, when the buses are full, only option? It seems crazy and now thanks to the vision and financial ability of our own adopted son of Queenstown, Rod Drury, and his band of brilliant collaborators, the opportunity is there.

Let’s take this fast-track opportunity and I challenge anyone who thinks it’s a bad idea to speak up now and put your case forward, or forever hold your peace. Because in my opinion, this is a no brainer and the best legacy result a fast track sidestep of the RMA could conjure up.

In the spirit of fast-track consenting, it’s vital the conversation is had, fast. Here’s my email. I’d love to hear from you.

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The Lakes Weekly is hand delivered to every business in Queenstown, Arrowtown, Frankton, Five Mile Remarkables Park and Glenda Drive on Tuesday. Copies are available in service stations, libraries and drop boxes throughout the region and every supermarket throughout the Queenstown basin and Wanaka.

Online the issue is available Monday afternoon, on and the Qtn App.


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