26 Aug 2015

Public access battle over ski fields

8:31 am on 26 August 2015

Mountaineering and back-country ski groups say they will fight for greater free public access to Queenstown's skifields.

Queenstown's Coronet Peak

Queenstown's Coronet Peak Photo: Supplied

The groups said they were being excluded from Coronet Peak, even though public access was protected by the agreement the skifield operator had with the Department of Conservation.

A public meeting in Queenstown last night agreed to push for more transparency and fewer restrictions at the Coronet Peak and Remarkables skifields.

The local alpine club has documents obtained under the Official Information Act, showing free public access was a key part of the leases.

The operator of both fields has confirmed it recently issued trespass notices to independent public skiers.

But chief executive Paul Anderson said the notices were justified.

"We had heavy machinery with winch cables operating there, and there was a real and present danger to them. After one of my staff spoke to them and some obscenities were directed at my staff member, the ski area manager was called and issued those trespass notices."

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