1,000 signatures reached
To: Otago Regional Council
Keep the Wakatipu Ferry on the water
We ask the Otago Regional Council to subsidise the ferry service operation as they do the buses until such time as the Wakatipu Way to Go plan for public investment in an expanded ferry service is implemented: https://www.orc.govt.nz/news-and-events/news-and-media-releases/2019/february/transport-partnership-developing-lake-wakatipu-water-ferry-business-case.
Why is this important?
We have a very effective commercial ferry service operation on Lake Wakatipu which is well patronised by locals and visitors alike. As a resident of Kelvin Peninsula, I regularly use the service when heading to the centre of Queenstown.
However it cannot continue without a similar subsidy to that which the $2 buses get. The service is scheduled to be shut down at the end of February 2020 to the dismay of the local users: https://www.odt.co.nz/regions/queenstown/lake-ferry-service-wind. Once shut down it will be difficult to resume operation.
The Queenstown Lakes Region is facing increasing road congestion caused by exponential growth in local and visitor traffic. Queenstown Lakes District Council, the NZ Transport Agency and the Otago Regional Council have done a great job in moving residents to bus services with a subsidised service which as well as getting cars off the roads, has the added benefit of climate change mitigation.
Water transport is potentially one of the most efficient and climate friendly means of transport for the Wakatipu basin. No roading infrastructure required and currently existing jetties are utilised. Plus the ferry is a really beautiful way to travel. As with all public transport, the ferry service must be reliable, frequent and reasonably priced to encourage use. We have a local commercial operator providing an excellent service for a year now but it is not cost effective for them.
Queenstown Lakes District Council, the NZ Transport Agency and the Otago Regional Council recognise this but are slow in implementing a long term plan. Allowing an existing ferry service to fail through bureaucratic inertia would do the community a huge disservice and set back the momentum for positive change.
As Chair of the Kelvin Peninsula Community Association, I urge the ORC to respond swiftly to this public transport need.