Thumbs down to Queenstown ferry

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Independent commissioners appointed by Queenstown Lakes District Council have rejected a proposal for a controversial ferry service across Lake Wakatipu to Kelvin Heights.

Wakatipu tourism giant Real Journeys applied for consent in June to operate a small electric ferry for passengers, including cyclists, from a Park Street jetty across the Narrows.

In response to the thumbs down, Real Journeys’ commercial director Tony McQuilkin today says the company is naturally disappointed at the decision.

“Real Journeys has looked to provide a valuable ferry service to the community and a significant enhancement to the Queenstown Trails network, which is unfortunately now not going to happen.

“We accept the council’s decision and will not be appealing,” he says.

“I have personally driven this project and believed in the wider community benefits. This was a service that made plain good sense and we gave it our best shot.”

Nearby residents on Park Street – including local tourism and transport magnate Sir John Davies – submitted against the proposal with many saying such an operation should not be sited in a residential area.

The Wakatipu Yacht Club’s written submission against said the lake near the club could be congested at times and “an unacceptable reduction in the level of safety” would result if the ferry was abe to use the area.