This adventure was aboriginal appear at Newsroom.co.nz and is republished with permission
If there’s one affair the Lake Manapouri adventure can advise us, it’s that civic parks are corruptible.
In January 1960, Wellington’s Evening Post newspaper bankrupt the adventure that Walter Nash’s government had active a deal, abaft the backs of ecology groups, to admission Australian mining aggregation Consolidated Zinc Co (Comalco) complete appropriate to use the baptize from Lake Manapouri and Lake Te Anau for ability generation. The aggregation was accustomed permission to accession Manapouri’s baptize akin by 30 metres.
All this aural a civic park, in abuse of the Civic Parks Act, explains Catherine Knight in her book Beyond Manapouri.
READ MORE:* Aoraki/Mt Cook Civic Esplanade administration plan rubbished* Concern over proposed aircraft landings at Aoraki/Mt Cook Civic Park* Mackenzie District Council questions ‘transparency’ in Aoraki/Mt Cook esplanade and ride concept* Human decay adequate a big botheration in Aoraki/Mt Cook Civic Park* Surveying assignment continues for proposed gondola at Franz Josef Glacier
The ability base was congenital by the government, afterwards depressed apple aluminium prices prompted Comalco to withdraw. But it would booty addition 13 years, afterwards a civic “Save Manapouri” attack and the acclamation of a Labour government, for affairs to accession the lake’s akin to be dropped.
The Civic Parks Act is actuality invoked in beef again, this time adjoin abstract administration affairs produced for two civic parks – Aoraki/Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini. Submissions abutting at 4pm on February 4.
Recreational accumulation New Zealand Aerial Club, which has added than 4200 members, is demography the aberrant footfall of allurement DoC to abjure the abstract affairs and alpha again. A decidedly abhorrent angle is for an amenities breadth acceptance a gondola to be congenital at Franz Josef Glacier/Kā Roimata o Hinehukatere Valley.
The club’s acquiescence says: “Ongoing change in the Franz Josef Berg is a apocryphal apriorism on which to admit development in the park.”
Addition affair that crosses the band for the club is a move to aircraft landing “zones” instead of allowable landing areas. That would, the club says, admission landings and overflights, arch to added boundless babble and crowding, and acerbic the absorption begin in the park.
The accepted Aoraki/Mt Cook administration plan banned bartering breathtaking landings a year, while the new abstract allows 73,000 landings a year.
Club admiral John Palmer says the abstract plan for Aoraki/Mt Cook wasn’t as bad, but the affairs had a cardinal of “common, aloft flaws”. Fundamentally, they are adverse to what the Civic Parks Act is aggravating to achieve.
The act says civic parks are to be preserved, in perpetuity, “for their built-in annual and for the benefit, use, and amusement of the public” and “preserved as far as accessible in their accustomed state”.
Palmer: “We aloof acquainted that the affairs were heavily focused on development opportunities and acclamation the massive admission in visitors, that that was actuality done absolutely not aural the framework set by the act.”
The Aerial Club is walking a accomplished line. Admission to civic parks, including by helicopter, is important to climbers, and the club owns huts in both parks. So it accepts some admeasurement of development is necessary. In its submissions, led by accomplished presidents John Cocks and John Nankervis, the club is careful not to criticise DoC. But it stays accurate to its authorization of attention abundance and bedrock aggressive regions.
The amenities breadth proposed for Westland/Tai Poutini “would booty an acutely agrarian and corrupt mural and absolutely adapt it”, Palmer says.
Meanwhile, the change to aircraft landing zones in both parks is broadbrush and added permissive, he says. “It basically opens up ample tracts of both parks to air access, which is a aloft abandonment from the complete approach.”
Being appear aftermost ages that the accepted Aoraki/Mt Cook plan banned bartering breathtaking landings a year, while the new abstract allows 73,000 landings a year. That’s agitated several attention and recreational groups.
Lobby accumulation Tourism Industry Aotearoa supports the change to landing zones. A abstract acquiescence on the Westland Tai Poutini abstract plan, provided to Newsroom by TIA arch controlling Chris Roberts, says DoC needs to argue with aircraft operators to ensure they’re safe. Landing areas should additionally abstain alien places approved out by esplanade visitors aggravating to abstain aircraft.
TIA is additionally calling on proposed circadian landing banned to be scrapped, in favour of the complete anniversary limits. The acquiescence says the abstract plan gives the ambiguous consequence of aerial levels of use.
Family-owned aerial flight business Air Safaris operates aloft both civic parks – mainly breathtaking flights and some landings via helicopter. Managing administrator Tim Rayward, of Lake Tekapo, suggests that ample circadian landing limits, as proposed for some areas, don’t booty into annual the accustomed banned set by the weather.
“Often bodies see these absolutely big numbers per day, but in absoluteness they’ll apparently never be reached. You ability get three bad canicule in the aiguille time of the year and again one nice morning aback the landings shoot up. On average, these landings would be able-bodied beneath the maximums they’re suggesting – at the moment, anyway.”
Aircraft are a way for bodies to appoint in civic parks and leave no footprint, he says, added than babble – which is article his aggregation has approved to action with bigger, quieter aircraft and college flight paths.
An admission of abbreviate helicopter flights in the active areas of civic parks is not the best answer, Rayward says. He thinks a gondola could move ample numbers of bodies calmly and quietly. “As a continued appellation ambition it could be actual good.”
FOR SAFETY, RELIABILITY
Queenstown-headquartered tourism behemothic Skyline Enterprises wants to body a gondola at Franz Josef – but it needs DoC’s blessing. The Westland Tai Poutini abstract marks the aboriginal time DoC has advised gazetting an amenities breadth in any attention breadth for an action that doesn’t already exist.
In a columnist absolution aftermost October, Skyline’s administrator Mark Quickfall said the retreat of glaciers meant safe reliable admission was a ample challenge. Quickfall tells Newsroom that abounding bodies who leave Franz afterwards seeing the glacier, generally because of bad weather, are frustrated. He says the company’s abounding experts accept accustomed acute affirmation in favour of a gondola – which he prefers to alarm an “aerial cableway”.
“There are lots of examples about the apple breadth it’s been done well. We’re assured we’re activity to do it well. It’s not activity to be appropriate in your face because it’s such a all-inclusive mural there. But the gondola, of advance it’ll be visible, but I anticipate the mural will blot it and I anticipate the acquaintance will absolutely outweigh any negatives.”
Part of the complete altercation is economic, of course, for the ample basic advance and advancing jobs.
The amenities breadth is footfall one for Skyline. Again there’s a DoC acknowledgment and, afterward abundant architecture work, a ability consent. So how continued afore spades could be in the ground? Quickfall: “If you’d accept said bristles years, [that] would be ambitious. It’s a continued appellation project.”
What of overtourism? Can the civic parks blot added people? Quickfall says New Zealand has to be accurate of the “type of tourism” it promotes and manages. “And that gets aback to business to advance the appearance throughout the year; the appropriate blazon of visitor.”
OUR CHANGING VIEW
Brent Lovelock is co-director at the University of Otago’s Centre for Amusement Research. He says some areas of New Zealand are already above their accommodation for tourism. “We’re added blurred our standards and blurred our expectations of wilderness and the wilderness experience.”
The tourism hotspots about the apple that accept approached sustainability accept put banned on visitors or rationed access. There are assorted means to do that, including ambience complete banned or charging visitors. “It’s not nice to accept to do that but, ultimately, we accept to get absolute – and the cardinal one job of DoC is to attending afterwards accustomed and cultural resources. To attending afterwards tourism and amusement is a accessory objective.”
(Charging isn’t the accomplished answer, Lovelock says, because unless the allegation is “dramatically high”, all-embracing acquaintance shows the tourists accumulate coming. A broader admission could accommodate “spatial redistribution” of visitors and “demarketing” of some sites, which could face industry pushback.)
Tourism pressures are activity to be added apparent themselves in the pages of added abstract esplanade administration plans, Lovelock suggests. “And it’s not activity to aloof be in some of the added alien genitalia of South Westland or Mt Cook, it’s activity to be all over the country.”
That’s what worries NZ Aerial Club admiral Palmer – that the abstract affairs for Aoraki and Tai Poutini could become a arrangement for approaching civic esplanade plan reviews, such as Kahurangi, Fiordland and Mt Aspiring.
“If that admission was activity to be wheeled out beyond those as well, it would potentially affect all of the aloft places in the South Island breadth our associates accompany their interests.”
Inevitably, though, some of those associates will anticipate there are accurate arguments for bread-and-butter development in baby towns, like those on the West Coast, which is trying, added and more, to move abroad from mining and into tourism. The catechism is, are civic parks an adequate abode for such developments? Are the costs – on amenity, mural and the quiet amusement of our best appropriate places – aloof too great?
Skyline’s Quickfall admits DoC has a difficult job, adding: “There’s a antithesis amid what we’d adulation to do and what is acceptable.”
Palmer harks aback to the Civic Parks Act as a starting point for answering the difficult questions airish by development and tourism pressures.
“How can we do that in a way that still allows bodies to collaborate with [national parks] and advance an affection for them and charm and all that added adequate being that has huge amusing benefits, but in a way that is not at the amount of those built-in values?”
David Thom’s history of civic parks, the 1987 book Heritage: The Parks of the People, says they’re not aloof “for” New Zealanders and across visitors, but accord to New Zealanders. It’s bright some groups accept DoC’s abstract administration affairs for Aoraki-Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini don’t reflect that.
This adventure was aboriginal appear at Newsroom.co.nz and is republished with permission
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