Ngai Tahu begins $3.8m Franz development

By Janna Sherman

The first sod has been turned on Ngai Tahu’s latest multi-million development at Franz Josef Glacier.
Site clearance has begun for the new $1.5 million base for Franz Josef Glacier Guides, with the $2.3 million i-Site and Department of Conservation area office to go alongside.
Ngai Tahu Tourism West Coast acting regional general manager Steve Lester said the company was carrying out the earthworks ahead of letting the tender for the first phase of the building work in the next fortnight.
The new complex will merge with Ngai Tahu’s existing $8m Glacier Hot Pools complex, in Cron Street, at the northern end of the township in a deliberate move away from the Alpine Fault zone covering much of the existing village.
Mr Lester said the site would then be blessed by Makaawhio iwi before construction begins on the new guiding base.
The DOC and i-Site building — to replace the current earthquake risk DOC headquarters and information centre — is continuing through the consent process.
Both buildings are expected to be completed by Christmas.
Ngai Tahu Tourism’s $24m five-star Te Waonui Forest Retreat also forms part of the newly developed area.
The Westland District Council declared a fault rupture avoidance zone over the township three years ago, preventing all new building or extensions to existing buildings with the ‘quake avoidance zone’.
The District Plan change formalising the avoidance zone is still to be finalised and has yet to go to a hearing.