Chairlift being installed after delays

Soho Basin and the Southern Alps from the top of Cardrona. PHOTO: JUSTINE TYERMAN
Soho Basin and the Southern Alps from the top of Cardrona. PHOTO: JUSTINE TYERMAN
A new chairlift for the Soho Basin on the Cardrona skifield is back on piste, despite delays to the project since it first started eight years ago.

Cardrona had planned to install the lift on its Pringles slope in time for the 2020 ski season, but said surveying found the construction would disturb a native reptile stronghold.

Hundreds of lizards across five species were counted, including populations of the threatened orange-spotted gecko and Lakes skink.

Consequently, the Department of Conservation (Doc) rejected the permit early in 2020, forcing Cardrona Alpine Resort Ltd back to the drawing board.

Its board then worked out the lift would fit perfectly on the "Willows" slope of the Soho ski area on the southern face of Mt Cardrona and it is planning to reuse the quad chairlift it removed from the McDougall area there.

The original application approved by the Queenstown Lakes District Council in December 2014 had a five-year timeframe.

However, in a report to the council, planning consultant Sean Dent said that with
capital spending taking a back seat, particularly during the first year of the pandemic, Cardrona Alpine Resort chose not to pursue the new chair-
lift while it waited to see the true financial impacts of Covid-19.

The resort company has now applied for a second two-year extension on a resource consent for the earthworks and construction needed for the chairlift in the Soho Basin.

The project is a joint venture between Cardrona Alpine Resort and Glencoe Station Ltd, a company associated with Arrowtown businessman John Darby.

Mr Dent said in his report the resort company had also been working with various consultants on a new building to provide amenities to both the Soho and Cardrona ski areas.

A resource consent application for the new building would also be lodged as soon as engineering and ecological reports were ready, Mr Dent said.

--  Marjorie Cook and Aspen Bruce

 

 

 

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