Low impact visitor growth
16 years ago, when the project was first conceived, the proposed monorail route traversed through National Park land.
Around nine years ago, when Infinity Group became involved with the project, the route was changed to avoid land with National Park status. Riverstone Holdings appreciated that going through a national park was undesirable.
We’ve reviewed the route several times over the years and the route now avoids both the National Park and areas classified as “remote” by the Department of Conservation in relation to the Snowdon Forest. It also avoids wetland areas such as Dunton Swamp.
We chose a monorail for the central part of the journey because it is a very low impact form of transportation that hardly needs to touch the landscape. It has pillars at fence height every 20 metres and any undulations on the ground don’t need to be modified; only the pillar heights change.
The monorail is electric so there are no emissions. It will source renewable energy from the nearby wind farm at Mossburn and it runs on pneumatic tyres so it’s virtually silent apart from the slight hiss of the opening and closing of doors. You could be metres from the monorail in the bush and not hear it go past.
The construction of the monorail is also low impact, with the structure laid progressively from the track itself. Only a construction track – which will become a cycleway for the region – is required at ground level.
The biggest advantage of the monorail is that it provides sustainable tourism – once it’s in place, it can transport as few as a hundred or as many as a million people without increasing the environmental footprint.
While we acknowledge that the landscapes the journey travels through are very special to New Zealanders, it’s important that we allow activity in a controlled way to minimise impact of increased user numbers. This will help protect other more sensitive areas and the substantial income DOC earns from the concession fees can assist with this.