9 Dec 2011

Submissions sought on monorail plan

10:06 pm on 9 December 2011

The Department of Conservation has invited public submissions on a proposed monorail project to cut the journey time from Queenstown to Lake Te Anau.

The invitation has been issued less than a month after DoC asked for the public to comment on an 11km tunnel to shorten the trip between Queenstown and Milford Sound.

The monorail through the Snowdon Forest conservation area is being proposed by Wanaka-based company Riverstone Holdings and estimated to cost $175 million.

Riverstone chief executive Bob Robertson says the monorail is in direct competition to the Dart Tunnel and only one of the projects is likely to go ahead.

Both proposals seek to cut the journey time between Queenstown and Milford Sound by as much as a third.

The monorail plan means tourists will by-pass Te Anau on their way to Milford Sound. Some residents and Southland Mayor Frana Cardno have voiced concern about the tunnel's impacts on the small town.

But Mr Robertson says residents shouldn't be concerned tourists travelling to Milford Sound from Queenstown will miss Te Anau. He says Riverstone intends to promote the area.

The public has until 27 February next year to make submissions.