11 Aug 2010

DoC urged to reject skifield deal

7:48 am on 11 August 2010

The Department of Conservation is being urged to reject an application to allow a $250 million expansion of a Canterbury skifield on public land.

Australian company Blackfish, owner of the Porters Ski Area, wants to trade 377 hectares of leasehold land for 200 hectares of Department of Conservation (DoC) land including the pristine ski terrain of the Crystal Valley.

Blackfish wants freehold control of the 200 hectares so it can use it as a ski slope and build chairlifts, a ski school, cafe and develop trails.

But Canterbury-Aoraki Conservation Board chair Steve Lowndes says he's concerned the exchange could set a dangerous precedent for future deal-making between DOC and private companies.