This week in our history


Looking back on 40 years of Mountain Scene

1978 The Health Department writes to the then-Lake County Council to say installation of a fully reticulated sewerage scheme is the only way to overcome sewage disposal problems up Coronet Peak. The department says sanitary disposal of septic tank effluent in winter can’t be achieved by traditional septic tank and soakage methods. Council asks that long-term leases not be issued to the ski clubs until the sewerage problem is solved. 

1987 An alarming report by the Government’s Justice Department flags a high number of drug abusers and problem drinkers in Central Otago but lack of support services. The report is instigated by district probation officer Dave Alley who says 900 residents – or six per cent – in Queenstown, Cromwell, Wanaka and Alexandra need treat-ment. Alley says the numbers are as bad as anywhere in the country. 

1995 Steve Hagerty, of McNeill’s Brewery and Cafe on Church Street, complains to the Liquor Liaison Committee over the sale and consumption of liquor in the Queens­­­town Mall entrance. Hagerty praises the tables down The Mall for the Euro­­­­pean flavour they bring to town but is critical of some be­haviour in the precinct. “Some of our tourists were intimi­­­­dated. You can’t have yobbo behaviour during the day. We’re given the label of a party
town but we don’t need it branded a ‘party and idiots’ town,” he says. 

2002 The family of the late Paddy Burton is rapt with an anonymous Queenstown benefactor’s donation. The unnamed local donates $5000 to establish the Paddy Burton Memorial Park on Frankton Road. Paddy, a mother of three and married to local policeman Trevor, was killed in March, 2001, by her son Mark – the 20-year old was later found not guilty by reason of insanity. The $5000 pays for two benches, a new pathway, a fence, gate, sign and the transportation of a large rock to feature a plaque of dedication.

2006 NZSki puts up the price of its earlybird ski pass for Coronet Peak and The Remarkables by $30 to $579. The company’s chief executive Duncan Smith says the rise is unavoidable. “We really wanted to hold it at last year’s rate, but with diesel prices at an all-time high, electricity prices rising and upward pressures on wage rates, we had no choice.”