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Just Say ‘No’ to Tunnels

July 23, 2012

Fun Fact: my thesis is due in a week.

Did you not find that fact very fun?  It’s OK.  Neither do I.

Obviously, blog posting’s been a little bit irregular because of this.  See, when my thesis is over I’m probably going to have to get a job like a real person, so I’ve been extremely busy enjoying this last month of freedom.  You know, traveling, hanging out by the pool (indoor, it’s winter after all) and reading a lot of fiction.  You know, the kind of stuff one does when one has a 140 page paper due in a week.

Anyway, in addition to all my light-hearted procrastinating, sometimes I like to get really worked up over political, social and economic issues.  No, I’m not fun at parties.

Here’s something I care about–there’s a proposal to build a tunnel between a little town near Queenstown called Glenorchy and Milford Sound.  And it’s terrible.

Yes, it’s extremely annoying to get from Queenstown (where most tour buses leave from) to Milford Sound.  The map below shows the current route:

Map from wanaka.co.nz

Glenorchy is on the map…  Look for it to the northwest of Queenstown.  The idea behind the tunnel is that it would be open only to tour buses and would make the trip super quick and easy for the tourist on-the-go.  Like a drive-thru window for visiting natural wonders.

The thing is that a lot of people don’t think Milford Sound needs a drive thru option.  You know, like people who live in the town that is proposed to become a thoroughfare.  Glenorchy is lovely and quiet and ridiculously scenic.  And seems to be populated by people who don’t think the introduction of 40 tour buses driving through every day would enhance their quality of life.  Weird, right?

For some reason, they seem to think this is worth protecting.

I might be a little biased because I have a friend from Glenorchy and she cares a lot about not having a tunnel drilled through it, but I kind of feel like just the fact that most of the people there don’t want it should be enough reason not to do it.  Maybe respect the fact that people love their home the way it is.  It’s not even like there’s an economic upside for the town (maybe an increase in to-go coffees)–it’s pretty much just an economic upside for the handful of tour bus companies that are going to save a tonne on petrol.  Not worth it.

And to those who insist that Milford Sound should be made more accessible and convenient: get out.  Seriously.  It’s not like seeing Milford Sound is a birthright.  If the drive is too long for you, don’t go.  Look at a photo instead.  The trip there is half the fun, and I reckon that anyone who can’t appreciate that doesn’t deserve to go.  So there.

Besides, I’m pretty sure shortcuts are antithetical to the New Zealand experience.  It’s supposed to take forever to get places!  You know how they say that goldfish have a four second memory span?  And how that’s what keeps them from getting bored with their ceramic castle and plastic plant thing?  It’s kind of like that.  We’re on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere and we need those winding roads to be our four second memory span–giving us five hours of road trip fun to get between two places that are only 50 kilometres apart.  Do not take that away from us.

If you’re as easily upset as I am, here’s a website with more information: http://www.stopthetunnel.co.nz/.  Also, you can sign their petition to try and kill the plan., which I highly recommend everyone do.

And here’s a pretty good article about it: A Tunnel Runs Through It

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. LEIGH permalink
    July 24, 2012 1:30 am

    Thank you, thank you and thank you! My home can not be ruined by short sighted, money grabbers. If anyone complains of how long the road trip is to Milford then they should not be allowed to visit as obviously they don’t understand the simple, beauty of nature. SAY NO TO TUNNELS.

    • July 24, 2012 3:34 pm

      Totally agree. It’s such a beautiful part of the world–it would be such a shame to change that.

  2. Adam Sutch permalink
    July 24, 2012 8:59 pm

    That is brilliant! I, too, have folks in GY and your image of the fish in the tank is going to be good for some first rate teasing! Absolutely agree that if tourists do not want to make the journey, they should pass it up.

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