Investors interested in zipline: mayor

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A possible zipline attraction for Oamaru continues to gain momentum following “positive” discussions between Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher and potential financial backers.

In October, Mr Kircher told the Otago Daily Times he believed a zipline, carrying users from Cape Wanbrow, over the old quarry and on to the breakwater, could be a reality for Oamaru by 2017.

At the time, the Waitaki District Council was awaiting a detailed business case from Canadian consultants Select Contracts.

The business case had not yet been formally received by the council, but Mr Kircher said it was “solid”.

He recently held discussions with several possible financial investors, including a Christchurch-based former Oamaru man who contacted Mr Kircher personally about possible investment.

“I’ve talked to a number of people who have expressed interest in that. It’s looking very positive as far as how the business case stacks up and the interest we’ve got from investors in it.”

While the council funded the business case, the zipline itself would be privately funded and operated.

As far as funding was concerned, Mr Kircher said he hoped there would be a mix of local and national interest, from both businesses and the public.

“We’re working on how we can achieve that. One of the opportunities we are looking at is if there could be an element of crowdfunding that goes on, so people can have a little stake relatively easily.

“It depends on how easily that is managed from a council point of view. It won’t be the council investing in the business itself.”

As well as economic benefits, a zipline could lead to the reopening of Graves Track, which was closed in 2010 as a result of erosion, further development of Cape Wanbrow and improved access to the breakwater.

“All going well, we can achieve all of those things,” Mr Kircher said.

“I think it’s feasible to have it up and running later this year.”

He said the project had the support of the council, which was yet to formally endorse it.

A $21,000 wider tourism study commissioned by the council and published late last year focused on the zipline idea.

At the time, Mr Kircher estimated the expected costs to be between $1 million and $1.5 million.