Application for new Remarkables ski lift

The Remarkables skifield near Queenstown. The Sugar Bowl lift is shown climbing the mountain on...
The Remarkables skifield near Queenstown. The Sugar Bowl lift is shown climbing the mountain on the right. Photo: Joshua Walton
The Remarkables skifield has revealed plans to upgrade its Sugar Bowl chairlift and allow quicker access to its snow-park area.

NZSki Ltd has applied for resource consent for  a new  six-seater  chairlift to replace the  skifield’s  four-seater lift,  installed  in the mid-1980s.

It also wants to establish a 30m-wide  trail to loop around the lift’s top terminal and a 50m-wide  trail to connect with part of the Sugar Bowl trail network.

A report assessing the likely effects of the proposal stated the development would include "substantial earthworks" and indigenous vegetation clearance.

The new 1.05km-long lift would start in the car park area next to the base building and extend slightly further than the existing lift.

The company would need to build a temporary access track to allow for machinery to install the lower lift tower platform.

Assessing the ecological impact of the proposal, Arrowtown’s E3Scientific said the "overall ecological value of vegetation proposed to be disturbed is high".

The effects assessment report stated E3Scientific advised that the "high ecological values and removal of habitat" as part of the upgrade could result in a "very high adverse ecological effect", if not mitigated by NZSki.

The skifield owner applied for a concession from the Department of Conservation to carry out the works.

It claimed it would work to mitigate and remedy any adverse effects of the development in its application.

In a statement, ski area manager Ross Lawrence said: "There are exciting development projects in the pipeline for The Remarkables, but until we’ve been through proper processes, we don’t want to make any promises."

NZSki declined to comment further on the plans until consent was granted.

The company also sought exemptions from proposed earthworks rules as part of the Queenstown Lakes District Council’s proposed district plan at a hearing last month, to allow future development. It is  facing legal action over claims works to extend the learners slope at The Remarkables destroyed protected wetland.

NZSki and the Otago Regional Council are being taken to court by environmental  group Forest & Bird over the council’s decision to grant non-notified consent for the project earlier this year, despite internal council reports warning the works could  destroy the wetland.

joshua.walton@odt.co.nz

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