Silence on investigation as Skyline moves to limit Reavers Lane risk

by Lauren Pattemore - Jan 19, 2024

Clean up efforts and work to prevent future damage are visible around the impact zones from Skyline Gondola construction material that came down on Reavers Lane homes and vehicles during Queenstown's one-day flooding event last year.

Observations made up on the gondola site today (January 19) show the large construction pile that had been placed on the edge of the steep slope has now been moved and concrete barriers put in its place.

Skyline's gravel pile looking onto the Reavers catchment (File photo: October 4).

Also, the base of the Reavers culvert now has wire debris fencing in place, which Crux understands the Queenstown Lakes District Council instructed Skyline to install late last year.

In a letter sent to Reavers Lane residents and property owners from QLDC recovery manager Bill Nicoll on November 30, the fence is described as a proactive step to reduce the risk of further damage or flooding to the culvert and the surrounding properties during significant rainfall events. The debris fence was installed with 14 anchors 9 metres into the rock face. 

The new debris fence installed at the base of Reavers Lane culvert.

In emails sighted by Crux, Mr Nicoll also tells a property owner that monitoring equipment has been installed on the slope to provide real-time data. 

Before any significant rainfall event, council's stormwater network contractor Veolia will be undertaking checks on the Reavers Lane culvert, to clear it if required, Mr Nicoll says in the email. 

He also says rain thresholds of five millimetres an hour, or 25 millimetres over 24 hours, have been established for geotechnical onsite monitoring, and there are also evacuation protocols organised in collaboration with MetService and the council's emergency management team.

During last year's dramatic rainfall event, which saw 89 millimetres of rainfall over 24 hours, more than 50 residents from Reavers Lane were emergency evacuated in the middle of the night on September 21.

Twelve buildings were either red or yellow stickered by the council in the immediate aftermath of the event.

Vehicles were buried in Skyline's construction material, brought down by the heavy rainfall in September.

However, despite these proactive measures, the Queenstown Lakes District Council isn't answering questions as to whether there'll be consequences for the tourism company for the damage caused by its construction waste.

The council has not shared whether Skyline was following resource consent conditions when leaving construction waste at the top of the Reavers catchment.

Crux broke the story that Skyline's construction waste was responsible for the Reavers Lane damage on October 4, 2023. Read the story

Main image: The large construction pile that had been placed on the edge of a steep slope up the Skyline gondola in Queenstown has been replaced with concrete barriers, January 19, 2024.



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