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Chockstone Forum - General Discussion

General Climbing Discussion

 Page 1 of 2. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 22
Author
Concession granted for Fiordland tunnel

Cesca
24/11/2011
12:19:48 PM
This has been talked about for years and the granting of the concession by the NZ Conservation Minister was announced about two weeks ago. I only just heard the news, and am now spreading it.

http://www.doc.govt.nz/getting-involved/consultations/current/notified-concession-applications/dart-passage-tunnel-milford-dart-ltd/

As far as I am aware, the purpose of this tunnel is to get tourists into Milford Sound from Queenstown and back again, faster. It hasn't occurred to anyone to simply stop trying to do a Milford Sound Cruise as a day trip from Queenstown, but I guess this is because a lage part of Milford's target market is package tourists with majorly limited time, such as those from Japan, China, Korea, etc.

The tunnel will go through two National Parks - Fiordland NP and Aspiring NP.

You have until Jan 27 2012 to make a submission voicing your opposition.

Cheers,

Francesca

nmonteith
24/11/2011
3:43:22 PM
Is there really enough money to make this tunnel? Unless they discover some amazing mineral wealth I can't imagine the millions (billions?) needed to make this tunnel would ever be feasable just to get some tourists there quicker.
kieranl
24/11/2011
4:49:14 PM
Total bloody disaster.
As to money, what the heck - raise some capital in a throwaway structure, build it, liquidate in a year or so when returns fail to meet forecast. Buy the concession at a firesale.

nmonteith
24/11/2011
5:04:36 PM
Just had a quick flick through their documents. It does seem all very real and no pie in the sky hypothetical idea. Damn.

wallwombat
24/11/2011
5:17:08 PM
There is a tunnel through the Eiger (my mate, Clint, told me).

That doesn't seemed to have wrecked Switzerland.

Hetchy Hetchy!

Cesca
24/11/2011
5:25:17 PM
http://www.3news.co.nz/DOC-approves-Milford-Dart-Tunnel/tabid/423/articleID/232451/Default.aspx

Anyone know much about the potential environmental impacts of tunnel water? A 2007 draft report (so possibly not relevant now?) for the Dart--Milford tunnel states that the tunnel water would end up in the Hollyford River: http://csl.doc.govt.nz/upload/documents/getting-involved/consultations/current-consultations/southland/md-draft-environmental-operation-management-plan.pdf

Cesca
24/11/2011
5:29:09 PM
And from the wikipedia on transport in Milford Sound:

"The tunnel faces a number of criticisms. One of the major hindrances is the location of both entrances in national parks, Fiordland National Park in the west and Mount Aspiring National Park in the east. While the proposed new road sections would be very short, they have already led to criticism from environmental groups which note that general policy forbids the construction of new roads in National Parks.[7] The disposal of up to 250,000 m of spoil from the tunnel excavation is also considered problematic. Southland business interests are also concerned that the new tourism will bypass Te Anau, and lead to unsupportable traffic demands on the aging Homer Tunnel.

"In December 2007 The New Zealand Conservation Authority said that it would not allow the tunnel to be built in the Mount Aspiring National Park, despite support from the Otago Conservation Board and the Director-General of Conservation. The developers still want to go ahead with a longer tunnel skirting the National Park, though it is unclear how much the larger project would cost.[8] Southland District Council Mayor Frana Cardno is very disappointed at today's decision by the Department of Conservation to move one step closer, subject to conditions and public process, to a private tunnel through New Zealand's internationally acclaimed World Heritage Fiordland and Aspiring National Parks."
kieranl
25/11/2011
8:51:31 AM
On 24/11/2011 wallwombat wrote:
>There is a tunnel through the Eiger (my mate, Clint, told me).
>
>That doesn't seemed to have wrecked Switzerland.
The entrance and extra traffic by the start of the Routeburn track will pretty well stuff that lovely area though.
Wendy
25/11/2011
9:33:20 AM
there's a tunnel through Mt Blanc too, but it does go from super busy, highly developed valley to also quite busy, developed valley. There is really not a lot of stuff you might consider wilderness running around those tunnels. They are in highly populated countries that have been inhabited by humans for 1000000 years or so. Whereas this end of NZ still has a lot of relatively untouched stuff, although the mere 1000 years or so of human habitation in NZ has had a remarkable impact already.
bobjones
25/11/2011
9:35:15 AM
This is terrible. A bus only tunnel is not going to help at all.

Why not make it bigger so we can drive cars through. That would change the trip from christchurch from 755 km to 586.


bones
25/11/2011
9:54:34 AM
I thought they were trying to restrict numbers in that area?

Cesca
25/11/2011
10:29:50 AM
On 25/11/2011 Wendy wrote:
>there's a tunnel through Mt Blanc too, but it does go from super busy,
>highly developed valley to also quite busy, developed valley. There is
>really not a lot of stuff you might consider wilderness running around
>those tunnels. They are in highly populated countries that have been inhabited
>by humans for 1000000 years or so. Whereas this end of NZ still has a lot
>of relatively untouched stuff, although the mere 1000 years or so of human
>habitation in NZ has had a remarkable impact already.

Agreed, on all points.

The Hollyford and Dart Valleys are both stunning wilderness areas, in my view. The thought of having roads to tunnel entrances/exits in both places is just hideous. Surely wilderness is what draws so many tourists to NZ.....

...or is it?

The potentially shorter journey to Milford Sound offered by the tunnel seems to be largely for the convenience of the type of tourist who shuffles directly from the bus and into the boat terminal, onto the wharf, onto the boat, promptly falls asleep, wakes up near the end of the cruise to hastily snap some pics of a few seals, then shuffles back through the boat terminal and back onto the bus, where they promptly fall asleep again. I observed many thousands of this type of tourist in the three years I spent guiding, boat hosting, accommodation hosting and office ticketing in Milford Sound.

Get faster to and from something that you don't even appreciate/have much interest in anyway...

So really, it seems that this tunnel is for the benefit of those marketing week-long NZ 'experiences' to people who get ten days annual leave.

kieranl
25/11/2011
10:50:58 AM
Looks like the locals get screwed every way here. First wreck a couple of pristine valleys but you don't even get the benefit of shorter travel times.
Looks like to keep costs down the tunnel is only 5 metres wide and presumably one way. Does that mean you don't need lots of safety stuff to allow for crashes, evacuations etc?

wallwombat
25/11/2011
2:51:33 PM
I actually think this is a really bad thing.

The Switzerland comment was a throw away.
lacto
25/11/2011
3:14:34 PM
costs to build versus return ? got to be at least $30 m for 8400 bus trips per year ? plus probably $1 m to maintain so for a poor return and payback within the concesion timeof 50 years probably need 4 m p.a. or $480 per bus bit of a big ask unless it is government money so no risk to consortium

cruze
25/11/2011
3:18:26 PM
I don't like the idea either, however one argument presented by the developers is that if people spend 5 hours less time on the bus then that is 5 hours more time they can spend spending money. Don't know whether that would actually occur but it is an interesting point.

Also, whilst there is a certain romance associated with taking a month or ten off to travel to some exotic location and see everything at walking pace the reality is that an increasing number of people want the quick tourist fix and aren't too scrupulous where they get it from. If they already use up 2-4 days of their annual leave travelling to NZ from the other side of the world then they don't want to waste another day sitting in a bus.

Having moved to ChCh, NZ 6 months ago my image of a coutry of remote wilderness, rolling green hills and roaming sheep, of a culture entrenched in clean green ways and of a self-assured people has been eroded by reality. Don't get me wrong it's an awesome place that is slowly becoming my home but NZ is trying very hard to lose all the things that have made it such a great place to date. This tunnel idea (which incidentally I can't see the people of Te Anau allowing any regional government to entertain seriously) is just another example.

nmonteith
25/11/2011
4:45:56 PM
Hey I drove from Milfrod to Queenstown twice in one day a few years ago (packing up in the pouring rain i left my tent on the ground - i only discovered it upon arrival in Queenstown). No need for a tunnel.

vwills
25/11/2011
6:00:15 PM
On 25/11/2011 nmonteith wrote:
>Hey I drove from Milfrod to Queenstown twice in one day a few years ago
>(packing up in the pouring rain i left my tent on the ground - i only discovered
>it upon arrival in Queenstown). No need for a tunnel.

Yes, and wasnt your co passenger/ driver overcome with joy and appreciation of seeing the stupendous waterfalls the second time around and eating that great venison burger in Te Anau.

This tunnel plan sounds mad- environmentally and economically for NZ and socially for towns like Te Anau. Its definitely only catering to cashed up time poor package tourists and no doubt supported by some tunnelling job creation company who must be bribing someone high up to have advanced the proposal so far. I cant see it being a benefit for the future. Why not just send tourists to a 3D IMAX spectacular in Queenstown if they cant be bothered to sit on a bus for a day.

IdratherbeclimbingM9
25/11/2011
9:28:00 PM
They are coming up to an election soon in NZ yes?
I wonder how much of this issue is a red herring with some political connotation attached?
... In today's economic climate, I doubt even 'developers' have the secure idle $ to chase phantom returns on investment.

cruze
26/11/2011
4:55:12 AM
The election is today and it is pretty much a one-horse race for the current PM. It has been a presidential style "National/Key" vs "Labour/Goff" campaign so I doubt the issue has even been mentioned (at least outside of Southland).

 Page 1 of 2. Messages 1 to 20 | 21 to 22
There are 22 messages in this topic.

 

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