By Jeff Hampton
Approval has been given for a big new South Island skifield development that will create 1000 jobs and more than 300,000 visitors a year.
The development will be in Crystal Valley, next to the Porters Skifield. It will provide a range of accommodation, a gondola and chairlifts.
The development in the Craigieburn range, just over an hour from Christchurch is worth $500 million.
It is being funded by a group of Australian and Russian investors, undeterred by Canterbury's earthquakes.
Porters spokesman Mike Sleigh is happy about the project.
“It's what everybody's been needing in this part of the world and we're thrilled that the Australian and Russian owners have stood by it and see the future for Canterbury, they believe very strongly in it.”
The nearest settlement is Springfield, and this is the biggest news there since the erection of a Simpsons-style donut in the local domain.
Members of the public who spoke to 3 News were happy about the development.
“It'll be good for everybody, not just us as a business, but also the community,” said one.
“It's pretty exciting, good for Canterbury, the Selwyn district,” another said.
The village will grow to 3400 beds including a hotel, chalets, and apartments and skiers would be transported up the mountain by gondola.
The skifield will have three chairlifts and skiers will still be able to use the old Porters slopes.
In return for obtaining freehold land at the village site and in Crystal Valley, the developers have bought and restored two native forest sites, but some environmentalists are not happy.
Forest and Bird spokeswoman Jen Miller says it is a worry.
“What we're losing is public conservation land that most New Zealanders would assume would be protected in perpetuity, we're losing that now for a private development.”
Crystal Valley opens in 2015.