Gondola for skiers and commuters
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 to 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 ski field.
This week he added a 5-kilometre 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.
‘‘We’re very confident that that consent will be granted ... we definitely see the gondolas and ferries working together,’’ Porter 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.
The alignment of the Remarkables gondola from Remarkables Park Town Centre, to the suburb of Lake Hayes Estate, Kawarau Park Station and the Remarkables Ski Area.
The proposed Remarkables gondola network.