Work is under way on a new car park at the Remarkables ski area that is considered critical to its future.
Earthworks began on Monday to create a 300-space car park and bus turnaround about 1km down the skifield’s access road from its new base building.
Owner NZSki was granted non-notified consent for the project last week.
It has permission to excavate about 20,000cu m of earth over a 4800sq m area at two sites above the access road, and to deposit the material below the road to create the car park’s platform.
NZSki CEO Paul Anderson says with visitor numbers forecast to grow 22 per cent to 165,000 from last year, the car park was “critical” for the ski area’s future.
It would increase parking capacity by about one-third, which was expected to be sufficient for the ”foreseeable future”.
The company had ”worked closely” with the Department of Conservation on the project, which would cost between $300,000 and $400,000 and take up to 10 weeks to complete, he says.
Despite increasing parking capacity by 150 spaces to 675 before last season, the ski area reached capacity on 12 days.
Skifield management drew flak after closing the road above the 3km mark on three occasions and charging patrons for shuttle access.
The consent application, prepared by Southern Planning Group, said permission was required because 17 per cent of the area subject to earthworks was outside the ski area sub-zone, and because indigenous vegetation would be cleared.
The consent was approved with conditions relating to best practice for the removal and replanting of indigenous vegetation.
The new car park is the latest project in a $45 million redevelopment of the ski area that includes a new base building, now under construction, that is set to open in time for the start of this season.
During the 2013-14 off-season, the Curvey Basin chairlift was installed and the first 4km of the access road was sealed.
Otago Daily Times