SHORT AND SHARP
Snapper irks Beijing
Queenstown-based photographer Trey Ratcliff was detained – albeit briefly – by police in China after using an aerial drone to take picture of the Forbidden City. Ratcliff was in Beijing and shot pictures using a quadrocopter. He said he was unaware of nearby government buildings, which was the reason for police attention. The quadrocopter was confiscated while authorities checked the images then returned to Ratcliff at the airport.
Battle for Our Birds
The Department of Conservation is holding a public seminar to provide information on its planned Aerial 1080 operations this year. It will provide details of where aerial 1080 is likely to be used in the Wakatipu this year including the Dart, Routeburn and Caples Valleys. The meeting will take place tomorrow at the Wakatipu Senior Citizens Association, 10 Memorial St, from 7pm.
New dental clinic at hospital
A new dental clinic will be built on the Lakes District Hospital site in Queenstown within the next two years, the Southern District Health Board has announced. Dental Public Health Specialist, Clinical Leader Oral Health Services, Dr Tim Mackay said a project team was being put together to progress the build, which is being funded by the Ministry of Health to develop oral health services across New Zealand. ‘‘We have received funding for a two chair dental clinic, which is based on the projected population figures for the Wakatipu over the next 20 years.’’ The clinical staff will take part in the design of the new clinic which will be state of the art and come equipped with digital imaging equipment, enabling quick, easy diagnosis of a child’s oral health.
Sir Ray to speak
Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year and winner of the Blake Leadership Medal in 2010 Sir Ray Avery will speak in Frankton on Friday. After a deprived childhood in English orphanages He became a pharmaceutical inventor and businessman with his Auckland University research focussed on medical innovations for developing countries in Africa and Asia. He will speak particularly on his current campaign to raise funds for PlunketPlus – a hi-tech iPhone and iPad programme to allow Plunket nurses and parents to share information instantly and thus improve monitoring and advice. He will speak between 10am and noon at St Margaret’s Church Hall. Admission is $5 with proceeds to PlunketPlus.
Housing Accord underway
Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Vanessa van Uden has welcomed the Government’s decision to add the district to the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Act, thus beginning the process to establish a Housing Accord with the Queenstown Lakes District Council.
Amortgage repayment for a median-priced house was 93.9 per cent of the median weekly take home pay in the district, she said.
‘‘Approximately half of our property owners live outside the District and our huge appeal as a destination creates an affordability problem for the local community that the Council is committed to working with the Government to improve.’’
The mechanisms available under the Act had the potential to increase the housing supply and, in turn, reduce the cost of houses.
The council will work with the Government to draft an accord during coming weeks.
Once the accord is finalised, the council will investigate approaches that will help increase housing supply in order to strive to meet the housing targets in the accord.
Ski field gong
Coronet Peak ski area has been awarded the 2014 Green Ribbon Award for environmentally sustainable procedures. Coronet Peak took top honours in the large business leadership category for its work to reduce waste, carbon emissions, energy use and fuel consumption. Ski area manager Ross Copland was at the ceremony to receive the award on behalf of the team and said he was ‘‘ecstatic’’ with the win. The ski field has reduced its electricity usage by 10 per cent and its fuel consumption by 60,000 litres.