OPINION: I want the best outcome for both Te Anau and the wider Southland district.
The proposal Westland Properties Ltd presented to the Southland District Council regarding the Haast-Hollyford road raised questions relating to the projected cost of the road, the tourist numbers quoted and the toll income generated.
As these questions have not been answered dialogue is needed with Westland Properties Ltd and the Westland District Council as to the potential liability on Southland district ratepayers, despite the belief that adequate funding is available from outside sources.
More importantly, I believe, we need discussions with Te Anau and Manapouri tourism operators and the community to hear their views on the most beneficial transport to and from the area in light of current and predicted tourism trends.
We need to also analyse the importance of a wilderness area such as the Hollyford Valley to locals and as an attraction to tourists versus any possible gains from building a major road through the area.
There are very scenic areas in many parts of the world. What is unique about Fiordland is that we have accessible areas that are still pristine.
Visitors by road to Milford have to pass through Te Anau twice. Building the Haast-Hollyford road may simply move visitors from Westland via Milford Sound to Queenstown without increasing opportunities for Te Anau.
We need to promote Te Anau as a base for experiencing Fiordland and develop more local attractions.
My support of the road would depend on us finding positive solutions for the above issues.
Southland District Council mayoralty candidate
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