A disappointing decision

The Herald reports:

Controversial plans for a tunnel between Queenstown and Milford Sound have been rejected by Conservation Minister Nick Smith.

Dr Smith said he was declining the application because the environmental impacts were “significant” and beyond what was appropriate in two of New Zealand’s most spectacular national parks.

Milford Dart Limited had applied for permission to build a $170 million, 11.3km, five-metre diameter, single-lane bus tunnel that would have slashed the nine-hour journey time between the tourist hotspots.

How disappointing. The journey to Milford is insane, and a major turn off.  I don’t see how having hundreds of buses driving man extra hours on the roads is good for the environment.

All facilities to get tourists in have some impact on a high value conservation area. But without them, no one at all would ever get to see them and value them. The Daintree Rain Forest has a gondola for example.

A tunnel would have far less visual impact than a road as it is well, underground, apart from the entrance and exit. I was hoping the application would be approved. If it had got the go ahead, I reckon in 20 years time everyone would be saying it should have happened a long time ago. Now, it may never happen.

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