Expansion at Porters Ski Area Approved
Wed 18 April 12
The $500 million proposal to expand Porters Ski Area into Crystal Valley and build a year-round alpine village at the foot of
the ski area has been given the necessary resource consents and plan change approvals to proceed.
Expansion at Porters Ski Area Approved © Porter Heights
Commissioners appointed by Environment Canterbury and Selwyn District Council to consider the applications by Porters
Ski Area Ltd released their joint decision today after a nine day hearing over July and August last year.
The resource consents decision is subject to a 15-working day appeal period and the Plan Change is subject to a 40-working
day appeal period once it is adopted and notified by the Selwyn District Council.
Porters Expansion involves the building of a new family-friendly ski area in Crystal Valley adjacent to the existing ski area at a
cost of about $60 million.
Scheduled for opening in winter 2015, the new ski area would comprise an extensive snowmaking system on all main trials,
three chairlifts and New Zealand’s first ski area gondola lift, along with a large day lodge and crèche.
Also operating in 2015 would be the expanded ski area’s base facilities on the site of the proposed village. These would include the gondola’s bottom station, a small hot pools complex, sealed car parking and the first of the village apartments. This
first stage of the village would cost about $115 million.
A key part of Porters Expansion proposal was two land exchanges involving the Department of Conservation.
In return for obtaining freehold for the village site (15ha) and in Crystal Valley, Porters agreed to buy and restore two high
conservation value indigenous forestry sites at Lords Bush near Springfield and Steep Head Gully on Banks Peninsula.
Over the next 15 years, accommodation in the year-round village would grow to about 3,400 beds across a range of budgets
and prices from “flashpackers” to a hotel, various kinds of apartments and private chalets.
The 2015 opening would also feature the start of a wide range of both family and expert-orientated mountain bike trails,
and easy walks accessible from the proposed village.
When the ski area opens in 2015, the existing ski area access road would be closed to the public with skier and visitor access
to the expanded ski area being by gondola with a return trail into the proposed village. The existing ski area in the Porters
Basin would be easily accessible from Crystal Valley.
Porters Ski Area is the closest ski area to Christchurch and is owned by a group of Australian and Russian investors following
Overseas Investment Office approvals.
The partners in the project comprise the Harvey family of Sydney and Russian investors introduced by the Harveys.
“The Commissioners’ approvals are a significant milestone towards realising Porters Expansion after five years working on
the proposal,” said Simon Harvey.
“Despite a global financial crisis and the Canterbury earthquakes both happening after we committed to Porters, we are
backing the project because we believe Canterbury’s economy is fundamentally sound.
“Cantabrians are the kind of people who are resilient and resourceful and who we know will make sure Canterbury and
Christchurch recovers and rebuilds for its future”, said Mr Harvey.
To date, the partners had invested a total of $10 million in the project, upgrading the existing Porters ski area and providing
financial support for its operation while awaiting planning approvals.
At its opening in winter 2015 the ski area and village facilities would employ about 500 full time and seasonal staff.
Porters Ski Area Director of Development Mike Sleigh of Christchurch said Porters Expansion had received substantial support from Springfield, Selwyn District and Christchurch people.
“We received over 2250 submissions in support, including from Christchurch International Airport Ltd, Canterbury and
Christchurch Tourism, mountain bikers, Castle Hill Village residents and others in New Zealand and Australia.”
At full development, Porters would create almost 1000 full-time equivalent jobs for Canterbury and attract about 300,000
skiers a year – 45% from Australia and 19% from outside of Canterbury.
For further information contact: Mike Sleigh, 021 388 910.
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