What is the next stage in the process of applying for a concession for the monorail?
The hearings for the monorail concession application were completed in April 2012. A final DoC report on the concession application was presented to Riverstone Holdings for comment in June 2012. A final decision on the concession application is expected to be announced around Sep/Oct 2012.
Will I have a chance to make a submission on the monorail concession application?
Submissions from the public closed in March 2012.
All major affected groups and parties that Riverstone Holdings has identified as having an interest in this area have been sent information on the project, and have been contacted for feedback and discussion. If there are any other groups or parties that have an interest, we would hope to hear from them.
How will you manage effects on the environment?
Riverstone Holdings has worked extensively for over 8 years with some of the country’s top resource management professionals and environmental specialists to identify and manage potentially adverse environmental effects. There will be ongoing environmental monitoring of pests and weeds and other potential impacts. The monorail track will span all rivers crossed with no foundations or piers in the rivers’ normal flow. Steps to avoid, remedy and mitigate adverse effects are contained in detail in the EIA.
Will the ATVs or monorail be visible from walking tracks?
All the ATV route is in areas that are already accessible by district roads. A length of the monorail track may be visible from parts of the existing Kiwi Burn tramping track. This track may be realigned to ensure the monorail is not visible to walkers.
The FLE will travel through some remote countryside - how safe will this trip be?
A number of safety features will be incorporated in the design and fitting out of the catamaran, trains and ATVs as well as terminals and transfer areas. Each day before the monorail starts operating a visual inspection of the track is proposed. The track may be electronically monitored by sensors able to detect impacts from tree falls, track misalignment or settlement as necessary. There will be operating crew on board the monorail at all times, capable of stopping the train manually in addition to automatic sensors and controls. Globally, monorails have an outstanding safety record.
What happens if the monorail loses power?
The monorail will have a backup diesel generator housed in a building at Te Anau Downs. This generator will power the monorail at a reduced speed in the unlikely event of a power failure. A further back up would be the specially designed jigger able to tow the monorail back to the base.
What will you do about providing toilets for passengers?
There will be toilet facilities on the catamaran(s) and at each of the monorail terminals, and toilets at Mt Nicholas station. There will be no toilets on the ATVs or monorails. Toilet facilities have been factored on peak demand. The most appropriate treatment and disposal system will be selected and designed in consultation with the Otago Regional Council and Environment Southland.
You’ve talked about benefits for Queenstown and Te Anau – will there be benefits further afield?
It’s estimated that over and above the local benefits, a further $50 million would be spent elsewhere in New Zealand on production, construction and engineering. Indications are that indirect labour costs would amount to about $20 million and provide approximately 200 new jobs nationwide over a two year period.
Is this the Milford Sound ‘solution’?
We are offering an extraordinary trip between Queenstown on Lake Wakatipu and Lake Te Anau. We are not proposing this trip as a Milford ‘solution’ but believe there are significant associated benefits. It will reduce pressure on Milford Sound by better managing tourist flows and access. It will also facilitate the development of alternative and additional destinations for the 470,000 people who travel into Milford Sound each year.
Have you consulted with Iwi?
Yes, Ngai Tahu has completed a cultural impact assessment of the project and we continue to consult with them on a range of issues.
Will this put additional pressure on the fishing and hunting resource?
The Fiordland Link Experience will be a very controlled activity. It is designed as a through trip from lake to lake. People will not be able to get on and off the monorail other than at the Te Anau Downs Terminus and the Kiwi Burn Terminus.
How long has Riverstone Holdings been working on this project?
Riverstone Holdings has been working for many years on the monorail programme. The concept and route has been modified over the years and the project received a financial boost with the involvement of Bob Robertson and the Infinity Investment Group in November 2002.
How does this project benefit the Southern Lakes region?
Te Anau will be marketed as the destination so it will provide Te Anau, in particular, with the opportunity to showcase its attractions and lesser known areas.
What about benefits for the wider tourism market?
It will help further enhance New Zealand as a leading tourism destination in key international target markets. It will provide much needed infrastructure for a large number of visitors with the least possible environmental cost. It will offer a choice of experience and transport options and support increased visitor growth to New Zealand and the region.