Lake ferry plans 'totally unacceptable'

Ex-mayor and tourism founder Sir John Davies yesterday said he could not believe Real Journeys wanted to build a ferry terminal in residential Queenstown.

Sir John, speaking during the second day of a resource consent hearing, told commissioners David Whitney and David Clarke that his main concern was a commercial operation in a residential area.

He said it was totally unacceptable to find a proposed commercial activity in a residential area especially as Real Journeys was a good corporate citizen with a proud record of conservation. "They really are the last company that I thought would do anything like this."

The Queenstown Lakes District Council received 112 submissions on the proposal for small, electric ferries to cross The Narrows between Park St and Kelvin Heights Wakatipu Yacht Club, including 51 against the bid and 55 in support. A planning report recommended refusing the proposal in its current form.

Lawyer Graeme Todd, appearing on behalf of Sir John and Patricia, Lady Davies, Australians Ashley and Helen Cooper and other residents who overlook Jubilee Park, said there was available space for a service from the foreshore at Queenstown gardens.

Boating already occurred there and the area was not in the middle of a residential area, he said.

Real Journeys did not address the status of the lake foreshore as an outstanding natural landscape, there was no ecological report and no assessment on the numerous effects of a trial vessel, he said.

Wakatipu Yacht Club's submissions against the proposal said a peninsula management plan disallowed foreshore structures or new jetties in the reserve.

Surveyor Neil McDonald's submission suggested Real Journeys explore alternative options, including using an existing slipway.

Commissioners reserved their decision.

The Southland Times