FEBRUARY

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• Departing Queenstown Lakes District Council boss Duncan Field gets a $32,000 exit payment, according to Official Information obtained by Mountain Scene. Councillors Cath Gilmour and Vanessa van Uden say they and their colleagues should have had input. Meanwhile QLDC spends $68,139.13 recruiting Field’s successor, Debra Lawson.

• Queens­­town’s Mitchey Greig and Tim Cafe achieve middling success in the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Greig, 21, makes it through the skier-cross heats but misses out on the quarter-finals. Cafe, 22, finishes 38th out of 64 competitors in the Super G.

• With locals sick of cleaning up the mess left by freedom campers, Queenstown mayor Clive Geddes says one consideration is to ban them but also suggests $200-$300 fines for campers using no-go sites. Freedom camping enforcement contractor, harbourmaster Marty Black, says more ‘no camping’ signage is needed. But QLDC parks boss Paul Wilson says more signage won’t work.

• NZSki is to install a $5 million beginner-friendly four-seater chairlift at Queens­town’s Coronet Peak to replace the Meadows two-seater. Boss James Codding­ton says it will double capacity to a maximum 2000 skiers/riders per hour.

• Several Wakatipu High parents confront the board of trustees over a “social experiment” they fear could have disastrous consequences. In what’s believed to be a New Zealand first, Year 8-10 students aged 12-15 are lumped together in classes according to leadership ability rather than age.

• Seventeen locals compre­­hensively beat the record for the biggest mass swim of Lake Wakatipu from Cecil Peak to Queenstown Bay. Three – Harriet Brinsley, Barry Robertson and Tom Pryde – participated in the previous record set by six swimmers three years earlier.

• NZSki bumps up its earlybird season pass for Queenstown’s Coronet Peak and The Remark­ables from $699 to $799. “We’ve worked very hard to maintain affordability yet deliver a world-class experience,” marketing boss David Ovendale says.