Residents oppose rail tunnel link
Kindergarten raises money for Nepal
Glenorchy and Te Anau residents oppose a $274 million plan to build an electric railway through a tunnel to link Queenstown and Milford Sound.
One town does not want an influx of tourists, while the other does not want tourists bypassing it.
MSLR has proposed building a 15km vehicular drive-on-drive-off electric railway through a 13.5km tunnel between Milford Sound and Queenstown.
It was the third such plan to shortcut the 287km road trip, with Conservation Minister Nick Smith rejecting a $180 million plan by Milford Dart to build a tunnel through the Mt Aspiring National Park and the Fiordland Link Experience, a $240 million monorail project.
Enviro Glenorchy, formally know as the Stop the Tunnel group, spokeswoman Trish Fraser said she believed Smith ‘‘was clear he has shut the door’’ on proposed plans in the area, ‘‘but obviously not’’.
Fraser said the group would be keeping the eye on the project and would be ready to fight it.
In 2012 the group collected over 25,000 online signatures opposing the Milford tunnel proposal which were accepted by the Local Government and Environment Select Committee.
Fraser said the environmental impacts of the MSLR plan were unnecessary and the road from Queenstown to Glenorchy would not be able to cope with the extra traffic.
‘‘That [the traffic impact] would be enormous. The road is already really busy with tourists,’’ she said.
She believed most of the town’s residents would object to the proposal, as 98 per cent were against the Milford tunnel proposal.
With foreign investors there were bound to be more schemes in the future, she said.
However, ‘‘it doesn’t need to happen . .th. I would certainly be against it happening,’’ she said.
MSLR said it would run up to 12 train trips a day and each train would contain 10 single railroad low bed wagons, each capable of transporting a large tourist coach up to 12.6m and 20 tonnes in weight, and 10 regular flat bed wagons catering for up to 30 light vehicles.
Annually, it could transport 700,000 passengers, over 3000 passengers a day.
Save Fiordland chairman Bill Jarvie, of Te Anau, said he believed the project would have similar environmental impacts as the failed Milford tunnel proposal.
Jarvie, who said he was not outright opposed to development, said people travelling to the wilderness knew it took time and did not need to be rushed.
‘‘The very thing people come to this country for (nature), they will effectively be ruining,’’ he said.
Wakatipu Kindergarten children Bianca Nagal and Iris Deaker, both 4, helped plan and organise a breakfast at kindergarten to fundraise for the Nepal Earthquake Appeal. The children all came to kindergarten in their pyjamas and had cereal and toast for breakfast. The each brought a donation and raised $107 to donate to the Oxfam appeal fund.