Remarkables road to introduce a $10 toll

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Wed, 22 Jan 2020, 2:36PM
Queenstown Airport, Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, viewed from The Remarkables road. Photo / File
Queenstown Airport, Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu, viewed from The Remarkables road. Photo / File

Remarkables road to introduce a $10 toll

Author
Otago Daily Times,
Publish Date
Wed, 22 Jan 2020, 2:36PM

The prospect of paying $10 per vehicle to drive up the Remarkables road over summer has upset outdoor recreation clubs.

The road is owned by NZSki which announced yesterday it would impose the road toll from Monday, February 3.

New Zealand Alpine Club general manager Karen Leacock said the toll would ''hinder'' families' access to the area.

''For many, this may be their first adventure into the wild, which will hopefully lead to a lifelong love and connection for the outdoors.''

Federated Mountain Clubs president Jan Finlayson agreed.

''If you want to take your family to the Remarkables for a day's exploring, picnicking, climbing, tramping, [it] is the way to go.''

She suggested NZSki should seek funds from the Government's international visitor levy.

NZSki chief executive Paul Anderson said it did not qualify for levy funding.

It had invested more than $20million in the 13km road, and the toll would assist with the high maintenance costs, he said.

''Currently, these costs are met only by winter visitors to the ski resort and a few commercial operators.''

The $10 fee will apply from December 16 to April 30 each year but will not apply to cyclists or those on foot, and will not be in place during the ski season.

Mr Anderson said 2019 ski pass holders, including school children, would be allowed two free access passes.

Up to 200 cars a day use the road in summer.

Mr Anderson said it cost $20 to use the road to the Pisa Conservation Area, $8 to Mt John and $5 to the Omarama Cliffs.

Department of Conservation Wakatipu operations manager Geoff Owen said NZSki had the right to charge a fee.

''The Remarkables Rd is not a legal road but a series of
easements that first cross private land before reaching public conservation land.

''These easements provide NZSki with the ability to charge a fee for vehicle access.''

Doc did not have the ability to ''change previous decisions''.

''Our role is to agree whether the proposed fee can be
considered reasonable.''

The road was built by the Mt Cook Group in the early 1980s, and a toll booth was in place well into the 1990s