Fund­ing, con­sent sought for $100m Qtown gon­dola

The Press - - News - Deb­bie Jamieson

The de­vel­oper be­hind a pro­posed

$100 mil­lion gon­dola on the out­skirts of Queen­stown is look­ing for pub­lic and pri­vate in­vestors.

Alas­tair Porter said his fam­ily com­pany, the Porter Group, would be a key party in the fund­ing ar­range­ment, but was talk­ing with a ‘‘range’’ of com­mer­cial and pub­lic in­vestors.

‘‘Ev­ery­thing is de­pen­dent on fund­ing, but the cost of fund­ing is de­ter­mined by the con­sent and par­tic­u­larly con­di­tions on the con­sent.’’

He ex­pected to ap­ply for re­source con­sent next year and sug­gested the gon­dola could be op­er­a­tional in 2021.

The com­pany was not seek­ing fund­ing from the Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil, he said.

Coun­cil in­fra­struc­ture com­mit­tee chair­woman Alexa Forbes said she would be ‘‘de­lighted’’ if Porter pulled off the idea. A gon­dola was among the op­tions be­ing con­sid­ered as part of the Queen­stown Trans­port Strat­egy, which in­volves the dis­trict coun­cil, Otago Re­gional Coun­cil and NZ Trans­port Agency (NZTA).

‘‘I’m sure it would re­quire NZTA and pub­lic fund­ing,’’ she said.

The group was work­ing through mass trans­port op­tions for the area, in­clud­ing a pos­si­ble gon­dola from Queen­stown Air­port to the cen­tral busi­ness area and fer­ries.

The town’s roads were al­ready of­ten at grid­lock and the re­gion’s pop­u­la­tion was pro­jected to al­most dou­ble in the next 40 years, Forbes said. The area’s ge­og­ra­phy, the high cost of land, and the pres­sure for en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly so­lu­tions meant it was highly un­likely the road­ing net­work into Queen­stown could be ex­panded.

Porter pre­vi­ously an­nounced plans to build a $50m gon­dola to the Re­mark­ables ski­field.

This week he added a 5km route from the base of the moun­tains across to the sub­urb of Lake Hayes Es­tate and along the Kawa­rau River to Re­mark­ables Park, in Frank­ton.

The Re­mark­ables Park ter­mi­nus would al­low ac­cess to Queen­stown Air­port, Wakatipu High School, Re­mark­ables Pri­mary School, a planned con­ven­tion cen­tre, and var­i­ous re­tail shops and ho­tels at Re­mark­ables Park. It could also con­nect to a pro­posed ferry ter­mi­nal with routes to cen­tral Queen­stown. Porter is fi­nal­is­ing his con­sent for the ter­mi­nal plan, which is also be­ing con­sid­ered as part of the Queen­stown Trans­port Strat­egy.

He said he be­lieved Queen­stown com­muters would use the gon­dola most, but tourists would pro­vide the great­est fi­nan­cial re­turn.

Bikes and scoot­ers could be car­ried on the pro­posed gon­dola, which would travel up the ski­field ac­cess north­ern face of the Re­mark­ables, not the iconic west­ern face of the moun­tains, he said.

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