Southland and Otago local authorities will get a confidential
briefing in about a fortnight on the proposal to build a road
through South Westland from Haast to Hollyford.
Three members of the Westland District Council's property
company, Westland District Property Ltd, are planning a trip
south from December 12 to 14.
General manager Bruce Smith told the Otago Daily Times
yesterday he was still finalising the itinerary but he,
company chairman Durham Havill and one other director would
visit Queenstown, Te Anau and Invercargill to brief as many
of the "key stakeholders" as they could.
This would include councillors, tourism operators and others
with a "significant interest" in the road.
"There are no public meetings," Mr Smith said.
The company announced in October it had a "memorandum of
understanding" with overseas financiers for the $220 million
needed to build the 160km toll road providing a more direct
link between Fiordland and the West Coast.
A $20-per-head toll is being suggested.
Mr Smith said there had been talk of including a cycle track
with the new highway but it was "not built in" at this stage.
Mr Smith said since the news broke last month that overseas
finance had been secured for the highway, he had been
overwhelmed by the amount of support and surprised at the
lack of opposition.
"We're getting a huge amount of support. There are people
hopping out of the woodwork everywhere.
"I thought we were going to take some fire on this one at
some stage, but I haven't seen anything.
"The level of support has staggered me."
The Otago Daily Times reported last month Forest and
Bird advocacy manager Kevin Hackwell was opposed to the road,
but was also sceptical that it would be a profitable
investment for an overseas financier.
Mr Smith said the source of the finance would not be released
publicly "in the short term".
"We have signed very, very strict confidentiality