5 Dec 2012

Gondola judged best Milford Sound option

10:52 pm on 5 December 2012

A report commissioned by Southland's regional council has concluded that accessing Milford Sound by gondola is the best option for people and the environment.

Environment Southland policy and planning manager Ken Swinney that of the 12 alternatives examined in the report, the 12.6km Caples Valley gondola was found to have the least impact.

A park and ride option on State Highway 94 was listed second and a Fiordland link monorail third.

Mr Swinney says the gondola was ranked highest even though the report said its installation could potentially have a significant effect on the landscapes in the Caples and Upper Greenstone valleys.

Five years ago it was estimated the gondola would cost $110 million to build, but the report states that is most likely to be an underestimate.

Meanwhile, a proposal to build New Zealand's first ever private toll road, the Haast-Hollyford highway which may have a $20 toll, came in tenth place.

Mr Swinney says the report noted it could have a negative environmental effect.