Close calls spur farmer into action

The Roys Peak track car park was at capacity well before lunchtime on Tuesday. Photo: Sean Nugent
The Roys Peak track car park was at capacity well before lunchtime on Tuesday. Photo: Sean Nugent
The view from Roys Peak is something special, but it is becoming ''dangerous'' for visitors to experience it, the landowner says.

The track's 100-space car park, barely a year old since being upgraded in late 2017, is bursting at the seams.

Each day it bulges and spills out on to the narrow Mt Aspiring Rd, and even the neighbouring farmland.

Department of Conservation senior ranger Annette Grieve said 83,296 people used the track last year, including an average of 480 daily visitors in December.

While the obvious solution to the parking woes would be to expand, Ms Grieve said there was no public conservation land left next to the car park to do so.

At least not now.

Alpha Burn Station owner Duncan McRae said he would be happy to negotiate a lease with Doc for more land in which it could extend the car park, just as he did for the upgrade in 2017.

Over the Christmas period, Mr McRae opened the gate into the paddock next to the car park, as visitors were parking on the sides of the road.

''Every single person I talked to in town was saying how dangerous it was and something had to be done, so I just did it.

''I sat there for a couple of hours one day and the amount of close calls I saw was unbelievable. That's why I opened the gate.''

Mr McRae said on Tuesday he had opened the gate again, and planned to leave it open permanently, or until Doc came to him to discuss a further land lease.

Before Christmas, Queenstown Lakes deputy mayor Calum MacLeod said there was a market available for someone to operate a shuttle service from town to the start of the track.

But Mr McRae did not think that would be a viable option.

''They're dreaming.

''You're not going to stop people driving out there.

''They [Doc] just need more land at the bottom. I haven't heard from them so they must not think it's a problem.''

sean.nugent@odt.co.nz

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