Queenstown’s council has ordered a tourism giant to remove industrial waste from a local recreation reserve.
Skyline Enterprises has been storing oil drums, old batteries, scrap metal and cable used for its iconic gondola cableway operation on Queenstown reserve land leased from the council.
The materials - scattered at the end of its staff carpark, behind its gondola terminal - were stored for recycling contractors to collect, Skyline chairman Mark Quickfall says.
Mountain Scene sent photos of the site, taken last weekend, to council infrastructure boss Peter Hansby on Tuesday.
In an emailed reply yesterday afternoon, Hansby confirms “the area shown in your photographs is part of the land leased by Skyline”.
He says his staff have reminded the company it’s required to “maintain a safe and tidy site at all
“Skyline has undertaken to remove the batteries immediately and the waste oil has been taken away.
“Queenstown Lakes District Council and Skyline will be discussing a more permanent solution for storing the items on the site.”
Earlier, local environmentalist Rob Dickinson tells Mountain Scene the waste material constituted an environmental hazard.
“Oil doesn’t dilute - it’s just going to run into the ground and potentially into the creeks.
“We have fish in there that could be affected and kids playing in there.
“It doesn’t take much for a couple of drunken youths to go [to the carpark] and cause a bit of aggro.”
The photos surprised Kiwi Birdlife Park owner Paul Wilson, whose kiwi houses and pens are just metres below the carpark.
He didn’t know the drums and other material were out in the open.
Wilson was concerned contaminants could be washed down in heavy rain not just into his park but also, ultimately, into Horne Creek.
It was probably a fire hazard too, he says.
In an interview yesterday morning, Quickfall admits the issue is “very much on our radar”, and the company is working on both immediate and longer-term solutions.
“Even though it’s in our staff carpark, people do walk up that track, so presentation could be better. We want a high standard of quality [for visitors].
“So yep, no question, we can do better.”
Hansby says the maintenance and storage requirements for Skyline’s planned gondola redevelopment project will be considered.