Thu 21 Feb 19
Construction work on the park and ride facility in National Park Village is getting underway with completion targeted for mid-June in time for the 2019 snow season and the new Whakapapa ski area gondola.
The $1.6m project that has been majority funded through government’s Tourism Instructure Fund (TIF) will provide an integrated transport hub for road and rail services in response to growing visitor numbers.
Ruapehu Land Transport Manager Warren Furner said that the new facility would help manage the growing pressures on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (TAC) and Whakapapa ski area while bringing commercial opportunities to the Village and region.
“The popularity of the TAC together with the year round growth in visitor numbers to the wider Tongariro National Park including the ski areas has seen capacity issues develop over the past few years along with associated safety and environmental issues,” he said.
“The new Park and Ride facility will provide day and overnight parking supported by services including; public toilets, showers, BBQ facilities, a dump station and refuse facilities, WiFi connectivity, bus, train and shuttle connections and electric vehicle charging stations.
The opening of the new gondola at Whakapapa also scheduled for around June is anticipated to bring an additional 300,000 visitors to Ruapehu every year growing to 500,000 by 2025.
With our current facilities already at capacity government co-funding has been vital to enabling Ruapehu to make the necessary infrastructure investment to support regional tourism development and NZ’s tourism business growth agenda.”
Mr Furner added that while Ruapehu welcomes the challenges and opportunities brought about by growing visitor numbers we also take very seriously our tiakitanga responsibilities to care for the Tongariro National Park (TNP) and our guests.
“The development of the new park and ride facility is an important part of our approach to tiakitanga by providing facilities that allow people to visit Ruapehu safely while minimizing their environmental footprint on the area and helping to sustain our communities.
Council’s land transport activity has a vision to work with government and other partners including iwi and DOC to make TNP carbon free and have all transport services and on-mountain services powered through renewable energy sources.
The new park and ride facility is an important part of our progression toward this vision in helping to keep vehicles off the road and out of the TNP, people safe, as well delivering real environmental benefits.