Sk­i­field suc­cess causes prob­lems

Ruapehu Press - - Front Page - FRANCES FER­GU­SON

Huge con­ges­tion on roads around Ruapehu ski fields over the week­end ham­pered emer­gency ser­vices and has an­gered a com­mu­nity board mem­ber

Na­tional Park Com­mu­nity Board mem­ber Simon O’neil [also a mem­ber of the Na­tional Park and Whaka­papa Fire Emer­gency NZ] ac­cused the Ruapehu District Coun­cil and Ruapehu Alpine Lifts [RAL] of con­tribut­ing to the traf­fic jams with its new Park ‘n Ride Ser­vice.

O’neil said emer­gency ser­vices were un­able to get onto the road with traf­fic clog­ging up 6km of SH48.

His com­ments are a com­plete con­trast to a press re­lease sent out by Ruapehu District Coun­cil Land Trans­port Man­ager War­ren Furner, hail­ing the Park ‘n Ride ser­vice a huge suc­cess.

He said things went ‘‘re­ally well’’ for the first week­end of the new ser­vice.

‘‘It was a per­fect week­end to trial the new park and ride ser­vice with fine weather af­ter a big dump of fresh snow,’’ he said.

‘‘This is not the first time that it [Ruapehu District Coun­cil] has re­leased in­for­ma­tion like this with only a slight re­sem­blance to re­al­ity.’’ Simon O'neill

O’neil said traf­fic was so con­gested that emer­gency ser­vice ve­hi­cles couldn’t get onto the road let alone along it. He said RAL was still en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to come to Whaka­papa.

‘‘This is not the first time that it [the coun­cil] has re­leased in­for­ma­tion like this with only a slight re­sem­blance to re­al­ity.’’

Over 7000 peo­ple used the Park ‘n Ride ser­vice from Ohakune and Na­tional Park Vil­lage to Turoa and Whaka­papa ski ar­eas.

Furner said it made a big dif­fer­ence in re­solv­ing the type of traf­fic is­sues they would nor­mally ex­pect.

He said the bus ser­vice took an es­ti­mated 3000 cars off the roads in the Ton­gariro Na­tional Park over the week­end.

Lucy Con­way said friends spent two hours wait­ing to get up the moun­tain to Whaka­papa in the shut­tle.

Ross Co­p­land, CEO for Ruapehu Alpine Lifts said con­ges­tion was caused by ill-equipped and in­ex­pe­ri­enced driv­ers who chose not to use the free park and ride ser­vice.

He said staff and con­trac­tors cleared five ve­hi­cles off Bruce Rd on Satur­day.

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