The Queenstown to Glenorchy road will be closed for half a
day for the Targa South Island motor rally despite the
opposition of police, the Department of Conservation (Doc)
The Queenstown Lakes District Council yesterday unanimously
approved Targa New Zealand's application to close the road to
the ''top of the lake'' - which has no alternative route -
from 1.30pm to 7pm on Saturday, November 1.
The council also approved closing the Crown Range-Cardrona
Valley road between the State Highway 6 junction and Cardrona
village from 7.45am to 1pm on the same day.
The rally, a six-day event on sealed roads, is coming to the
South Island for the first time in its 20-year history.
Targa New Zealand managing director Peter Martin told
councillors the rally was a ''travelling motorshow''
accompanied by an entourage of 2500 people who would spend
two days in the district and spend an estimated $1.2 million
The council received 10 submissions opposing the closures,
including eight on the Queenstown-Glenorchy road.
One submission was later withdrawn.
Senior Sergeant John Fookes, of Queenstown, wrote that he
opposed the application on the grounds the road was the
''sole means of access'' to Glenorchy for emergency services,
while Doc said the closure could compromise the safety of
trampers - many of whom would be unaware of the event -
because of disruption to their plans.
Mr Martin said Targa New Zealand had modified its original
application by starting the rally stage from Farrycroft Rd at
Closeburn instead of from the Fernhill Rd roundabout, so
fewer residents would be affected.
In response to a question from Cr Cath Gilmour about the
impact on businesses using the road, he said people who
registered with Targa in advance could be escorted along the
road at set times.
He accepted that ''transient tourists'' were the biggest
concern, and Targa would work with rental car companies, Doc
and police to ensure as many visitors as possible were
Mr Martin told the Otago Daily Times he had asked to attend
the meeting after he saw the number of objections and the
reasons behind them.
The Queenstown-Glenorchy road stage was the event's ''jewel
in the crown''.
He had been surprised by the police's opposition, claiming it
was the ''first time ever'' police had opposed a road closure
application in the rally's 20-year history.
Blanket Bay luxury lodge general manager Brent Hyde said
although he remained opposed to the closure, appealing the
decision would be ''counter-productive'', and Targa had
proposed ways of transporting the lodge's guests and staff
along the road throughout the afternoon.
Glenorchy Community Association chairman Pete Reid said while
the decision would upset some residents, ''there will be a
lot of people and fundraising groups who will be pretty