New commuter boats could be ferrying Queenstowners to and from town, possibly reducing the resort’s traffic woes, if a newly-lodged resource consent gets the green light.
Kawarau Jet Services Holdings Ltd has applied to operate a scheduled ferry service along the Kawarau River and Lake Wakatipu.
The idea has been hinted at in recent Queenstown council plans as a possible way to reduce traffic.
The operation will feature six 9.5 metre boats, able to seat 42 passengers each, running ferry services from Bridesdale Farm to town and back every 15 minutes.
Stops along the way will include Kelvin Heights, the Frankton Marina, the jetty adjacent to Boyes Crescent, and Kawarau Falls Station.
In the application, the company says the service will reduce traffic con-gestion on Queenstown roads and give commuters and visitors another travel option.
“The ferry service will be comparable to, albeit smaller in scale than, the successful water-based public transport services in urban areas adjacent to waterways, includ-ing, for example, Auckland and Sydney,” the application states.
“The ferry service will benefit the residents of Frankton, Kelvin Heights, Remarkables Park, Lake Hayes Estate, Bridesdale Farm and Shotover Country, in particular by reducing travel distances and road traffic on State Highway 6A between Frankton and Queenstown.
“This will also benefit the wider community.”
The proposal also includes plans to construct a new jetty adjacent to Bridesdale, at the location of the former HeliJet jetty.
The jetty platform will be a floating pontoon, measuring 12m long and 4m wide, and about 1.5m deep – 0.6m will be below the water.
The company anticipates using the new jetty proposed at Remarkables Park, for which Remarkables Park Ltd has recently sought consent.
The boats themselves are likely to be fully-enclosed vessels 9.5m long and 3.5m wide.
“It is anticipated that there will be a trip every 16 minutes in each direction during peak travel times (in the early-mid morning and late afternoon) and at half-hourly or hourly intervals at other times, between 6am and midnight weekdays, and 7am and midnight on weekends.”
A one-way trip will take about 50 minutes from Queenstown Bay to Brides-dale, including all intermediate stops.
The company has asked for the application to be publicly notified.
“KJet welcomes the testing of such a positive proposal through a public process, and that a notified process will let supporters submit as well.”
It also hints at the possibility of an expanded service, saying, where necessary, “resource consents for future ferry stopping points will be applied for”.
If approved, it’s unclear when the service will begin to operate.
The company’s requested a period of eight years before the consent lapses “to ensure that there is sufficient demand to support the ferry service at the outset”.
According to the Queens-town Integrated Trans-port Strategy, a ferry network is planned for 2023.
Meanwhile, a gondola system is also in the long-term plans.