Bumpy ride ahead for firm
A hearing for a contentious Real Journeys' bid to launch a 24-hour ferry service on Lake Wakatipu set sail yesterday.
Queenstown Lakes District Council received 112 submissions on the tourism firm's proposal for ferries to cross The Narrows between Park St and Kelvin Hts Wakatipu Yacht Club, including 51 against the bid and 55 in support.
A planning report recommended refusing the proposal in its current form.
At the start of a two-day resource consent hearing, counsel Warwick Goldsmith outlined the company's proposal including amendments to the concept plan tabled after the submissions.
Real Journeys commercial director Tony McQuilkin said the ferry concept was good sense, removing the need for a tedious journey around Frankton arm.
"Considerable planning and expense has gone into this concept to deliver an efficient, eco-friendly and user-friendly link across The Narrows. The service is primarily targeted at users of the (cycle) trail network. Many of those users will make spur of the moment decisions based upon availability and frequency of the proposed service."
Submissions included strongly-held views on both sides of Lake Wakatipu with the majority of support coming from Kelvin Hts and strong opposition from Park St and nearby residents.
Senior planner Hanna Afifi's report recommended refusing the application in its current form as the potential adverse effects were more than minor.
Her report asked for more information on mitigating visual effects of a Park St jetty, mitigating the effects on a residential area and details of lighting, signage, parking and water safety.
The plan proposed a ferry carrying about 30 passengers or 15 with cycles across the 300-metre gap on a busy section of the lake used by jet boats and sightseeing vessels.
Real Journeys submitted amendments in response to the submissions, including moving the proposed Park St jetty 21.5 metres to the east and moving the Kelvin peninsula jetty to the west.
Queenstown Lakes District Council harbourmaster Marty Black's report said The Narrows was the only access into the main lake and consequently there was a high-speed access lane 50 metres from the Kelvin peninsula shore that allowed for powered craft to travel faster than 5 knots.
Real Journeys proposes crossing the lane at right angles and will be required to give way to all boat traffic. He suggested moving a departure jetty to an old hydrofoil jetty on the shore of Queenstown gardens, developing a safety plan and using flashing lights.
"The key issue that the applicant appears not to have addressed is how the crossing of the high speed access lane can be undertaken safely, especially during busy periods and at night."
Among those fighting the proposal are businessmen Sir John Davies, who is expected to speak today, and Cliff Broad. On the other side, well-known Kelvin Hts residents including Sir Eion Edgar, Josh Emett and Kaye Parker are in favour.
The hearing continues today.
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