This week in Mountain Scene history


1975 A big pow-wow in what’s now the Crowne Plaza hotel debates the pros and cons of a skifield on the Remarkables floated by Mount Cook Group. A poor season at Coronet Peak has businessfolk pushing for urgency. The new skifield opens 10 years later to the month. 

1985 The 56 telephone operators at Queenstown’s archaic exchange buck a national series of stopwork meetings. As the country’s last manual exchange, all calls in the resort would otherwise have been “paralysed”, postmaster Sandy McAra says. 

1995 Outgoing mayor David Bradford labels his second term “a nightmare”. In an emotional chat to council election candidates, Bradford bemoans constant criticism from the public and media – singling out Mountain Scene. During his mayoralty, Bradford first caused a brouhaha by touching the breasts of a Winter Festival jelly-wrestling contestant. Soon after, Mountain Scene revealed Bradford’s timeshare company was consistently paying rates late – and in November 1994, the paper also exposed senior council managers running up substantial credit card spending without detailed paperwork. Audit New Zealand demanded “improvements”.

2001 Queenstown developer John Darby announces “God’s own golf course” – now known as Jack’s Point. The 1000-acre $100 million resort will take 10-15 years to develop, he says.

2005 Queenstown’s council is forced to wipe a $27,000 overcharge to a new Arrowtown business. Council regulatory contractor CivicCorp stung Automatic Restaurant & Bar $31,825 for ‘development contributions’ for having three toilets. The bill was later lowered to $4833. Several other overbilling cases are also cited.