Glenorchy kayak guide to double up

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A Glenorchy kayaking guide has jumped the first of two hurdles to double patronage on Pig and Pigeon Island trips.

Queenstown’s council this week issued Sam de Reeper with a new licence to occupy the two scenic Lake Wakatipu islands for kayaking and guided tours.

De Reeper’s allowed to take 18 people simultaneously on the two islands, up to five times a day: “I wasn’t allowed more than 18 people on the islands at any one time. This [new licence] says I’m not allowed any more than 18 on an island.”

De Reeper, who’s run his Rippled Earth business since 2007, says he takes between 300-500 clients each summer.

The new licence is dependent on him obtaining a notified resource consent.

“If there’s submissions that go against it, the council will pull together a hearing,” he says.

De Reeper doesn’t believe more clients will increase the fire risk – a third of Pigeon Island vegetation was destroyed by fire 10 years ago.

“I’m completely smoke-free on my tours,” he says.