Queenstown Lakes District Council and Skyline Queenstown have announced that a band of conifer trees on either side of the Skyline gondola in Queenstown will be cleared, starting Thursday, November 7, 2019.
This work aims to remove any future health and safety risk that may be posed to people accessing the aerial cableway and other businesses located on Ben Lomond Recreation Reserve.
This follows initial work that began in late 2017 to re-establish an existing road to the harvesting area, which is now complete and allows for tree extraction.
QLDC’s general manager community services, Dr Thunes Cloete says a lot of preparation had gone into providing access into the area, and now the community could expect to see trees starting to come down.
"Our initial agreement with Skyline Queenstown is for 50 metres of clearance either side of the gondola line, which may be quite a visible change from downtown Queenstown at first," Dr Cloete says.
"This work is imperative when considering the safety of local residents and visitors enjoying the gondola and other businesses located up Ben Lomond."
Skyline Queenstown general manager, Wayne Rose says Skyline Queenstown and QLDC had devised a proactive plan for managing risks to public safety, as well as the safety of forestry crews.
"These wilding trees grow about one metre each year and, as they get bigger, they become more susceptible to the wind and the risk of them falling increases," says Wayne.
"It is therefore essential we manage this situation proactively, in conjunction with QLDC, with as minimal disruption as possible to local residents, the operations at Skyline Queenstown and neighbouring businesses."
The forestry work – to be undertaken by Central Earthworks and Logging – is not expected to impact residents, apart from occasional truck movements on Lomond Crescent. There will be no impact on traffic or parking at the Skyline Queenstown base terminal.
Harvesting the identified trees is a permitted activity under the Operative District Plan, as the area is designated as a forest. Where possible, the felled timber will either be exported or milled for the domestic market.
Skyline Queenstown will remain operational throughout this phase of the project.