Shopaholics ask for a tow
Keen shoppers in Queenstown are asking contractors to tow their vehicles over icy roads so they can keep shopping.
The Remarkables Towing company is one of the busiest in Queenstown whenever snow hits, but that does not stop people ringing with inane requests.
Owner Dave Tomkinson said it was not uncommon for keen shoppers who found their cars sliding on ice to call for help.
‘‘We’re getting jobs when people are too scared to get down [the hill] but want to drive around town.’’
The company does tow people to the shops, but only if it is safe to do so.
One Wanaka resident asked for their car to be towed over the Crown Range so they could go shopping in Queenstown, which the company refused to do, he said.
Tomkinson encouraged drivers not to go out if they were concerned about icy conditions.
‘‘If you can’t drive down the hill then you should not be on the road.’’
Cars blocking driveways was a ‘‘bigger issue’’ in Queenstown though, stopping some residents from being able to get to work, he said.
‘‘In the last two weeks we have had 40 calls of people parking in other people’s driveways.
‘‘The town is definitely expanding and this year is worse, there are a lot more people in this town.’’
Fernhill and Queenstown central were the most problematic areas, with those responsible for blocking driveways usually being neighbours whose own car parks were full, or uneducated visitors, Tomkinson said.
‘‘They park it and bugger off for a couple of hours.’’
The company used to receive about five calls a day about vehicles that should not have been parked in Queenstown Primary School’s staff car park.
Supermarkets and shopping centres were other common towing locations, with some drivers leaving their cars behind when they went travelling, Tomkinson said.
He blamed the lack of free parking in Queenstown and overpopulated houses for the problem.
‘‘Prices cause a problem because people here are stretching their finances,’’ he said.