Still no verdict as six-months-and-counting Skyline investigation rolls on

by Lauren Pattemore - Apr 23, 2024

It's been half a year since Skyline apologised for the damage caused from its construction waste flowing down on Reavers Lane homes - yet, the investigation to determine exactly where fault lies remains ongoing.

Queenstown Lakes District Council monitoring and enforcement manager Isabelle Logez admits the investigation is taking longer than originally expected.

She says there have been a number of elements to work through, which has extended anticipated timeframes.

The council has been investigating since October 2023 whether the tourism giant followed all its resource consent conditions when it stored excavated fill above the Reavers Lane river culvert, which inundated residential homes and businesses during heavy rain in September.

Councillor Esther Whitehead tells Crux she first asked council staff on October 11 to further investigate "a number of aspects to the Skyline mess", based off information she had been given by members of the public.

But she hasn't received any updates on this matter since.

A gravel pile on the edge of a steep slope at the top of Queenstown's Skyline gondola, October 5, 2023.

"I was told that this was to undergo a full investigation, with the legal team, and it was put through as another official councillor request."

Councillor Whitehead says she is not aware of council's position relating to fault, negligence or liability.

"As far as I know, we have never had any detail on these aspects, only on aspects of the work programme to remedy some of the damage and risk."

Councillor Niki Gladding says councillors have been given no information about this investigation, despite making multiple requests for more details.

When the apology was first delivered, Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Glyn Lewers was vocal about pursuing further answers from Skyline, but remained silent today.

The mayor did not answer phone calls from Crux, but in early October said he was committed to updating the community when any decisions were made.

Reavers Lane residents and homeowners had a big clean-up job after September 22 (Image: Supplied/ Jasper Thompson).

Skyline's excavated fill flowed down onto Reavers Lane homes during heavy rainfall in September, causing 41 people to be evacuated in the middle of the night as well as property damage, with 12 homes initially red or yellow stickered. 

However, despite no reportable progress on the investigation, there has been a number of mitigation works completed on the site to make things safer.

In a media statement received this week, Skyline says action is being take in collaboration with the council to remove risks related to materials and debris. 

However, despite questioning from Crux, the tourism company remains tight-lipped on the investigation too.

"Commercial matters are confidential to the parties involved as they continue to work through the process in a way that ensures the expedition of any remedial works which will ultimately be to the public benefit," it says in its statement.

"Skyline has no further comment to make at this time."

While Crux has previously reported on a new debris fence installed at the base of the Reavers Lane culvert, and weather and material monitoring, QLDC parks manager Dave Winterburn says longer-term solutions will be finalised in the coming months.  

Main image (Supplied/Jasper Thompson): Cars park covered in debris that started at a pile of excavated fill near the top of the Skyline gondola in Queenstown in late September.

Read more:

Skyline confirms their construction work caused recent storm damage

Mayor demands more than apology for Skyline storm damage

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