19 May 2011

Debate over cuts to winter grit programme

2:50 pm on 19 May 2011

The Automobile Association says lives could be at risk if Queenstown Lakes District Council reduces its winter road gritting programme.

The council wants to avoid a rate rise of 2.4% and says the Transport Agency needs to increase its subsidy.

But the AA says less grit could put motorists at risk.

Until now, the Transport Agency has paid almost half the cost of gritting urban roads and up to 90% on the Crown Range and Glenorchy Roads.

But while the council's costs have increased, the agency has not increased its subsidy and the council says it may have no option but to stop gritting some roads.

Queenstown Chamber of Commerce says that says reducing the grit on the roads will be bad news for the economy as people won't be able to get to work and tourists won't be able to get to the ski fields.

The council will evaluate public feedback before voting on the programme in June.