Skifield proposal opposed

A proposed $250 million skifield development in Canterbury has attracted a high-profile opponent.

Castle Hill Ltd, owned by Auckland businesswoman Christine Fernyhough and her author-photographer husband John Bougen, has objected to a proposed plan change that would enable the Porters Ski Area to expand into Craigieburn's Crystal Valley.

The Porters expansion plan includes a 3500-bed alpine village, hot pools, and a 1.8km gondola ski-lift.

Castle Hill's submission to the Selwyn District Council opposes the plan "in its entirety". It said the development would be "dominantly conspicuous" and the area "does not need another partially completed town".

"Why [do] we need to further pollute the pristine land and skyscapes of the Castle Hill basin to service the fickle overseas tourism market for purely commercial gain, especially where the skifield profits will not be retained in the Selwyn District?" it said. Blackfish, which owns the skifield, is mainly Australian-owned.

Bougen said Castle Hill, the ski area's neighbour, was surprised not to be notified of the plan change.

Blackfish plans to swap 56 hectares near Le Bons Bay on Banks Peninsula for the freehold of almost 200ha in Crystal Valley and near the Porters River to enable the development.

The Department of Conservation, which manages the land, is considering the deal.

The Press