Tunnel opponents look to bolster cause
GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
Glenorchy opponents of the Milford Tunnel are urging Queenstowners and people of the Wakatipu basin to support their call to stop the tunnel.
The Stop The Tunnel group will hold a public meeting aimed at bolstering their cause to halt construction of the privately bankrolled 11.3km, $160 million bus tunnel at the Queenstown Memorial Hall this Sunday.
Internationally recognised archaeologist Dr Leslie van Gelder will chair the meeting and highlight the risks to Fiordland and Mt Aspiring National Parks of losing their UNESCO world heritage status if the tunnel proposal goes ahead.
Stop the Tunnel spokeswoman Amanda Hasselman said the aim of the meeting was to engage Queenstown people in the fight against the tunnel. “This could be in the form of supporting existing groups such as Stop the Tunnel and Save Fiordland or by forming a specific Queenstown Against the Tunnel group that would add another voice to the campaign," she said.
"We really need Queenstown's help. This issue affects us all and future generations of New Zealanders.”
Nearly 23,000 people had signed an on-line petition against the tunnel - a critical mass that Stop The Tunnel believed would make the Department of Conservation "think twice" about granting a concession to Milford Dart to operate on department land.
The backing of Queenstowners in the cause to stop the tunnel would also increase the likelihood of the New Zealand government shutting down the tunnel proposal, Ms Hasselman said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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