An expert consenting panel has approved the Queenstown Arterials Project, which will significantly improve transport links and reduce congestion for locals and visitors in the tourism hotspot.
Environment Minister David Parker welcomed the approval for the project that will construct, operate and maintain a new urban road around Queenstown’s town centre.
“Traffic congestion has been a long-standing problem for Queenstown, and needs to be addressed as the city continues to grow and tourism recovers post-COVID-19. This project will help future-proof the city and contribute to a much safer, more climate-friendly transport network,” he said.
It will include cycling and walking connections, which will reduce reliance on private vehicles and encourage more low-emissions modes of transport.
“Through the construction phase this project will create jobs and support the local economy, which has been hard-hit by the impact of the pandemic on international travel,” David Parker said.
Project consultants expect the project to provide 477 direct full time equivalent job and 702 indirect job opportunities during the construction period.
“This project meets the requirements under the fast-track consenting process – getting people into jobs, supporting the transition to low emissions and boosting local economies,” David Parker said.
The COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-track Consenting) Act 2020 is one of the Government’s levers to boost jobs, speed up infrastructure development and improve environmental outcomes in response to the economic impacts of COVID-19.
The approval was granted by an expert consenting panel chaired by barrister Heather Ash.
The decision took 67 working days from the time the application was lodged with the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). That is significantly faster than the time it takes for a similar consent under the Resource Management Act 1991 consenting process.
More information about the Queenstown Arterials Project decision is on the EPA website.
More information about applications for fast-tracking through the Order in Council process is on the Ministry for the Environment website.