Saturday, 23 September 2023
Queenstown recovering well after state of emergency lifted
Mayor and Minister thank local community for their resilience and praised all those involved in the response
Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Glyn Lewers and Minister for Emergency Management Hon Kieran McAnulty have thanked the local community for their resilience after a severe weather event at the end of last week, and praised all those involved in the response for their efforts.
Both spoke to the community via a media stand-up in Queenstown this afternoon, alongside Emergency Operations Centre Controller – and QLDC Acting Chief Executive – Tony Avery, Paula Enoka from NZ Police and Roger Ball, Manager National Operations at NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency).
“I’m pleased to confirm that the local state of emergency was lifted at 3.00pm this afternoon and Queenstown is open for business. The skies are clear, the weather forecast is fine and there’s fresh snow on the mountains,” said Mayor Lewers following the stand-up.
“Most importantly, I’d like to acknowledge and thank the people who have been managing our collective response. From the QLDC team to civil defence, emergency responders and contractors it has been a truly collaborative effort with many people working through the day and night to respond to a quickly-evolving situation.”
“There is still work to be done but the impacted areas are contained and we’re now able to transition to recovery.”
A priority will be restoration work at Queenstown Cemetery. Around one third of the cemetery has been affected by slips caused by heavy rain and the whole cemetery remains closed to ensure public safety.
QLDC’s Parks and Reserves team which manages cemeteries in the district is continuing to assess the area and contacting families of damaged graves personally to offer reassurance. They are endeavouring to reopen most of the cemetery in the coming days.
All residents for whom QLDC has been organising temporary accommodation have been allowed to return home after the completion of building assessments. Some buildings are still yellow-stickered but these are either non-residential properties or not currently occupied.
All roads and streets in the centre of Queenstown have reopened. Elsewhere in the district, SH6 between Makarora and Haast, Tobins Track and the backcountry Von Road remain closed.
Some tracks (including Frankton Track), trails and reserves across the district also remain fully or partially closed. Please observe all signage.
Skyline Queenstown will be open for business tomorrow morning after a health and safety assessment was provided to QLDC this afternoon. Access to the gondola will be restricted to visitors to the Skyline facilities, and the mountain bike uplift service will not be available until further notice.
The mountain biking tracks in the Ben Lomond Reserve, including the Queenstown Mountain Bike Park, are closed to the general public. Riders should not attempt to access the trails either by gondola or other means. Health and safety assessments of the trail network are required so that a plan of action can be implemented, and the mountain bike tracks opened. Specific updates will be provided in the coming days.
A further general update on the will be provided tomorrow (Sunday, 24 September).
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