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Trail Progress Jeopardised

Date: Tuesday 4 September, 2012
Subject: Trail Progress Jeopardised

The Queenstown Trails Trust and the Queenstown Lakes District Council are urging members of the public to stay out of clearly marked construction zones after vandals put the timing of the Queenstown trails completion in jeopardy at the weekend, QLDC general manager community services and project manager Paul Wilson said.

Work started on the final section of the 100km plus Queenstown Trail last month, which covers a trail from the Kawarau Falls Bridge to the Lower Shotover Delta.

“It is a major concern to find evidence the public is entering clearly marked construction zones, climbing construction barriers and putting themselves and contractors at risk, let alone discovering the trail has also been damaged,” Mr Wilson said.

Some of those entering the restricted area had not only put themselves in harm’s way but jeopardised the progress of the trail.

“It was gutting this week to discover that over the weekend motorbikes and 4WD’s had destroyed recently completed parts of the trail,” Mr Wilson said. In addition, windows on contractors’ vehicles were smashed and sand poured into fuel tanks.

The ‘Kawarau Trail’ section of the project passed over a number of active slips that are currently being stabilised.

“Until these slips are stabilised and the trail completed anyone entering the construction zone is at risk,” Mr Wilson said. People may think it’s safe to enter these zones after hours or in the weekends but it’s absolutely not, he said.

Trails Trust chief executive Kaye Parker said it was incomprehensible that a small number of people could potentially ruin such a magical project. “This idiotic vandalism is harming the completion of the trail (due to be open in late October) and wasting hard-won community-fundraised money,” she said.

The latest vandalism along with the tedious reoccurrence of burnt out cars, rubbish dumping and other such behaviour was likely to see calls for restrictions on vehicle access to the delta, Mr Wilson said.

Meanwhile both the Council and contractors would be vigilant, keeping the area under “close surveillance”. The community was also asked to keep an ‘eye out’ and provide any information to the Queenstown police. “Any information about the vandalism to the trail and plant would be greatly appreciated,” Mr Wilson said.


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