NZSki applies for Doc concession

A total of 345,000cu m of earthworks over 122,000sqm of land will be required at The Remarkables to create three new trails and upgrade a chairlift.

NZSki also proposes to remove about 77,678sqm of indigenous vegetation from the Queenstown skifield but the majority would be replanted once earthworks were finished.

Last month, it applied to the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) for resource consent to upgrade the Sugar Bowl chairlift, in the Rastus Burn Recreation Reserve, from a four-seater to a six-seater, and create the new trails.

It also needs consent from the Otago Regional Council (ORC) and a concession from the Department of Conservation (Doc).

NZSki said in the latter application it expected all would be ''able to be issued on a non-notified basis within 20 working days of lodgement''.

However, Doc publicly notified.

NZSki wants a 40-year term for a lease associated with the upper station/terminal and service hut; licence for the new trails; and easement for towers, lift cables, ski lift chairs, utility services and snow-making infrastructure.

Proposed earthworks, 173,000cum of cut and 172,000cum of fill, include the removal of a 6sq m ''seepage area''.

It contained seven listed plant species, including the ''at risk - naturally uncommon'' sedge, which would be replanted elsewhere on the skifield.

While the seepage area met the ''broad definition'' of a regionally significant wetland according to the ORC, it was not identified as a wetland within any ecological surveys or assessments, the application said.

Consultants E3Scientific (E3S) said there would be ''permanent habitat loss'' for threatened native bird species - kea, falcon and New Zealand pipit - but noted there was ''abundant habitat that these species can use within The Remarkables area''.

All but one of its 12 recommended conditions - ''no disturbance to any regionally significant wetlands is to occur'' - were accepted by NZSki.

Public submissions close with Doc on December 5 and a hearing, if required, would be on December 13 or 14.

NZSki chief executive Paul Anderson could not be reached for comment.

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