Consent has been granted for a snowmobile operation in the Nevis Valley, just in time for the business to launch at the start of winter.
''We hope to have our first customers this week, '' Queenstown Snowmobiles Ltd director Pat West said yesterday.
''The business was all ready to go as soon as consent was granted.''
The company had applied to the Central Otago District Council for resource consent to operate guided snowmobile trips on Nokomai Station, on the Garvie Mountains; to locate temporary structures on site; and to allow a helicopter to land and take off.
Consent was granted subject to 29 conditions.
A maximum of four snowmobile tours are permitted each day, between June 1 and September 30, and a maximum of seven snowmobiles are allowed in each tour party. There has to be at least 30cm snow cover and snowmobiles have to keep 100m away from any wetland area.
Access to the snowmobile base is by helicopter only and all fuel storage and refuelling of snowmobiles has to take place away from waterways and with suitable containment around the refuelling area.
A maximum of seven helicopter trips a day are allowed - five to transport customers to and from the site and two to transport a guide.
Another condition says helicopters taking off and landing cannot cross any public conservation land, especially the Old Woman Range, when under 500 feet.
The other conditions relate to details about the temporary structures on site, helicopter movements and the hours of operation (7am to 8pm).
Consent expires in 19 years or when tenure review of the property is completed.
The site was classified in the district plan as an outstanding natural landscape and the Nevis Plateau wetland was deemed to be an area of significant natural value.
The company already has a 20-year recreational permit from the Crown and the application applied only to Crown pastoral lease land that had no public access.