Flying fox tests up peak

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Skyline’s court challenge no handbrake

The company building a giant flying fox by Queenstown’s gondola is proceeding despite a resource consent challenge.

Ziptrek Eco-Tours, an offshoot of a Canadian company, started installing flying fox lines on Bob’s Peak reserve two weeks ago.

The company aims to start operating – mixing flying fox thrill-rides with educational walks – in summer.

However, Ziptrek remains locked in battle with local heavyweight Skyline Enterprises.

Skyline, which runs the gondola and luge on Bob’s Peak, has expansion plans – a new luge and chairlift – and wants some of the same area being used by Ziptrek.

A Skyline challenge to Ziptrek’s consent is to be heard in the Invercargill High Court on September 21.

Skyline managing director Ken Matthews: “We thought they would have waited until the determination of the court really, but clearly they have identified that they don’t need to.

“There’s nothing to stop them fundamentally starting construction. It will be a question as to how the court views their action.”

Ziptrek director Trent Yeo, 34, says he has all the regulatory requirements in place and the consent challenge is “another process that will happen in its own time”.

“We’re just getting on with business – it doesn’t really affect what we’re doing.”

Ziptrek first received conditional approval from Queenstown Lakes District Council for a 33-year site lease in August 2007 – it became unconditional in March this year when Ziptrek got resource consent.

Yeo: “This has been a long time coming. We’ve been waiting patiently to get on with this project and have been waiting for definitely long enough so we’re just getting on with it.

“We’re in the business of tourism delivery and activities – we’re not really in the business of all the other stuff that’s been happening,” he adds.

Yeo says the flying fox lines will be installed and tested to ensure they all link up before accessways and decks are built.

The flying fox network will have no impact on trampers or bikers using existing Bob’s Peak trails, he says.

Despite duelling in court, Skyline has passed on a gate key allowing Ziptrek entry to its site – “They’re entitled to access the reserve,” Matthews says.