Fiordland monorail 'a good idea' lost

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 13:06 10/07/2014
ross cockburn
JOHN HAWKINS/ Fairfax NZ
Ross Cockburn is disappointed Te Anau failed to cash in on the monorail.

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Te Anau has missed out on a golden opportunity to lure more visitors to its shores after a proposal to build a monorail in Fiordland was stopped in its tracks, supporters of the controversial project say.

Ross Cockburn, the Fiordland constituency Environment Southland councillor, said many people had told him they thought the monorail was a good idea.

Cockburn, who stressed he was speaking as an individual, said those who were so vocal in their opposition "couldn't see the wood from the trees".

Foresight and courage was needed to allow Te Anau to expand, he said.

The long-time Te Anau resident said he agreed with the developers the monorail would be an added attraction to the area and bring business opportunities to Te Anau and its lake.

There were "brilliant" opportunities to tap into the monorail terminus at Te Anau Downs, Cockburn said.

Lake Te Anau was the most under-used lake in New Zealand and boat connections from the monorail to town were possible, a cycle trail to run alongside the monorail and then onto Te Anau would also drive people into town, he said.

"We can't keep saying no to every possibility or we will end up with nothing."

Cockburn said there had been plenty of supporters for the monorail but they were not the kind of people to make a noise and jump up and down.

PGG Wrightsons Real Estate Te Anau branch manager Nick Robertson is moving his premises into the town centre and says Te Anau is gaining a reputation for being anti-business and development.

"We don't want to turn Te Anau into no-ville," he said.

"Te Anau needs to open its arms to some ideas."

Robertson believed the monorail would have been beneficial by bringing in workers during the construction phase and there would have been potential to tap into the passengers getting off at Te Anau Downs.

"I think it is just another example of anti-business by some members of the community who are happy to see the town turn into a retirement village," he said.

"The young people are leaving because there are no jobs."

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- The Southland Times

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