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Skyline seeks feedback on Franz Josef Gondola project

October 29, 2018. For immediate release

Skyline Enterprises is seeking feedback on its proposal for a gondola to be built at Franz Josef Glacier, as part of public consultation to the draft Westland Tai Poutini National Park Management Plan.

The Department of Conservation (DoC) has released its draft management plan for Westland Tai Poutini National Park, which sets out the proposed management regime for the area for the next 10 years.

Within the draft plan, DoC has considered gazetting an amenities area in the Franz Josef Glacier/Kā Roimata o Hinehukatere Valley, which could allow a gondola to be built for tourists to safely access the retreating glacier.

The provision of an amenities area is the first step in allowing the gondola proposal to be considered and would be subject to relevant resource consents, Skyline Enterprises chairman Mark Quickfall says.

“As the glaciers continue to retreat, safe and reliable access to them has become a considerable challenge for the Westland community and for park management,” he says. “A gondola within a confined amenities area in the Franz Josef Glacier/Kā Roimata o Hinehukatere Valley could provide a quiet, easy and safe alternative for a wide range of visitors to view, access and be educated about the glaciers and surrounding environment.”

Skyline has consulted with a wide range of stakeholders, including Te Runanga o Makaawhio, Ngai Tahu, Franz Josef Community Council, West Coast Tai Poutini Conservation Board, Westland District Council, alpine groups, recreational users and other relevant parties during its investigations into the Franz Josef gondola.

“This management plan is an important document for one of most New Zealand’s most outstanding national parks. The Park and its environmental significance is valued by all stakeholders, the local community that lives and works there, and tourism within the Park is of major economic importance for the West Coast,” Quickfall adds.

“Sustainable management, adaptability and resilience is central to managing activities in this dynamic place and Skyline is committed to producing a tourism offering that respects the values of the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Management Plan, runanga and the local community. Like DoC, we are keen to get public feedback on the amenities area and invite interested parties to make a submission.”

This is the first time DoC has considered gazetting an amenities area in a national park (or any public conservation lands and waters) for an activity not already in existence.

Submissions close at 4pm, November 9, 2018. The draft plan can be accessed here and the Amenities Area section is on pages 122-126. Submissions can be e-mailed directly to the Department of Conservation at westlandnp@doc.govt.nz.

ENDS

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