There will be little progress on properly cleaning up Queenstown Cemetery and Bob’s Peak mountain biking and walking trails until a decent spell of dry weather, mayor Glyn Lewers says.
It’s a particularly delicate operation removing heavy timber logs and slash from the cemetery when the ground is still wet, Lewers says.
‘‘We don’t want heavy earthmoving machinery on wet ground because of the likes of ashes interred in the cemetery only 600mm underground.
‘‘With those tracks and the cemetery, we’ve got to wait until everything dries out before we move large pieces of timber away.’’
The council’s parks and recreation team are in contact with their counterparts in Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne councils, asking for advice about how they approached restoration following Cyclone Gabrielle that devastated their regions in February.
‘‘We’re looking at ways of moving heavy timber off the site without using heavy machinery.’’
On Thursday morning the mayor hosted a blessing for families of loved ones whose burial sites were impacted by the landslip, led by Queenstown kaumatua Darren Rewi and faith-based leaders.
While one-third of the land area of the cemetery reserve was inundated by the deluge, only 14% of the burial plots were impacted, Lewers says.
Meanwhile, the Best Start Early Childhood Centre is still ‘yellow stickered’ and inoperable after sustaining considerable damage from the flood event.
The council is working with the Ministry of Education to provide a temporary venue for the nearly 100 pre-schoolers who attend the centre, while it’s being repaired, Lewers says.
Despite last weekend’s heavy rain, and isolated showers forecast by the MetService, the gondola hill’s bike park could be opened as early as this weekend in a ‘‘best-case scenario’’.
That scenario would deploy a temporary diversion trail to give riders access off the base of the hill, because the Hammy’s Return exit point is still inundated with slash, rocks and silt from the landslide.
However, the Tiki Trail walking track will remain closed for the foreseeable future because its base remains blocked.
But Lewers is optimistic timeline for the bike park — which had been due to open for the season two days after the September 21 slip — is not shared by its operator, Skyline.
In a statement on Tuesday, the company said it anticipated work on a temporary track would be completed ‘‘within the coming weeks’’.
‘‘The temporary track would be operational for at least the remainder of the emergency management transition period, which ends on 21 October 2023,’’ the statement says.
Lewers says the council and Skyline are collaborating well.
‘‘There’s been positive progress working out roles and responsibilities on how we’re going to manage what’s in front of us now.’’