Looking back on 40 years of Mountain Scene
1975 Gondola operator Skyline Enterprises wants to lease out its restaurant above Queenstown because the 250-seat eatery is consistently losing money. An acute local staffing shortage, rising wages and intense competition among the resort’s 30 restaurants are blamed. Despite several interested parties, no lease eventuates.
1979 Kawarau Jet is investigated by the Transport Ministry after a $16,000 jetboat crashes into willows and sinks on Lake Wakatipu’s Frankton Arm. Driver Peter White, the only occupant, is plucked from the water in a helicopter scoop net.
1991 Coroner Alan Macalister publicly criticises the Ministry of Transport for ignoring his request for a safety inspection of The Remarkables Ski Area road. His request follows the death of an American ski instructor whose van plummeted off the icy road.
1993 Prime Minister Jim Bolger officially opens Millbrook Resort, near Arrowtown, predicting it’s “bound to become one of the brightest jewels in the crown of New Zealand tourism”.
2000 Shotover Jet boss Jim Boult blames the failure of “a key part of the steering mechanism” for a fatal accident, the company’s first. Yuichiro Shibata dies instantly of head injuries when a jetboat collides with the Shotover River canyon wall.
2003 Christchurch developer Dave Henderson finalises the purchase of a large Frankton Flats site, later known as Five Mile, earmarked for a shopping complex and education campus. Although Henderson carries out major excavations – dubbed Hendo’s Hole – the project never gets off the ground. His company goes broke in 2008 and Henderson himself is later bankrupted.