Looking back on 40 years of Mountain Scene
1981 Consultants warn the lower section of the road to Coronet Peak skifield could revert to gravel if a second coat of seal is not applied soon. In a report to Queenstown Lakes District Council, consulting engin-eers Duffill Watts and King point out the lower section from the Skippers Canyon turnoff to Malaghan Road was first sealed in March, 1974, and is overdue for a second coat that’ll cost $75,000.
1982 The future looks bright for the Queenstown Visitors Info Centre on the corner of Ballarat and Stanley Streets. It was established three months earlier in December and since then 1500 visitors have used it to seek advice – an average of 60 people a day. Neil Simpson, in charge, calls for more information from businesses and organisations in the resort.
1994 Mountain Scene continues a major series putting the spotlight on whitewater rafting safety standards. Part two of the investigation reveals a seven-strong group of influential US travel agents are condemning safety levels after believing they were going to die during a Shotover River trip. However, John MacDonald, then-boss of rafting company Danes, says the Americans merely went for a short swim – “an inherent risk in whitewater”. Part one of the series examined the drowning of an Australian visitor Terry Hardie a fortnight after a local guide Rosco Gaudin predicted a tragedy would occur.
1998 Skyline Enterprises’ new luge operation is near completion apart from a few final tests. The $2 million project is scheduled to open by March with a new chairlift also under construction. The installation follows the success of Skyline’s luge in Rotorua which attracted 800,000 riders the previous year.
2002 Queenstown Inc. battles to resolve a major worker shortage. The hospo sector desperately needs to fill up to 300 jobs alone. “The situation is becoming critical,” Millbrook Resort boss Sue Askham says. The shortage means hotel bosses are rolling up their sleeves making beds, serving breakfast and carrying bags. Askham warns the situation is putting the town’s service reputation at risk. A workforce solutions committee, set up by new mayor Clive Geddes when he ran Commerce Queenstown, is examining the problem.