Wānaka Masterplan could head to court

Last Thursday Wānaka Community Board (WCB) members were asked to progress the Wānaka Masterplan and Wānaka Integrated Transport Programme Business Case. 

The Wānaka Masterplan could be held up in court if consultation expectations are not realised—a group representing the majority of Wānaka town centre retailers, business and property owners is threatening legal action if they are not consulted on its next stage.

Owner of Paper Plus Wānaka, Brian Patrick Kreft, presented on behalf of the Wānaka CBD Property Owners Group (POG) and the Wānaka Town Centre Business Group (WTCBG) at the meeting, which he said represent approximately 87 percent of the property owners and 85 percent of the Wānaka CBD Retailers respectively.

“My remarks are confined to Lower Helwick Street and Ardmore Street. To date, such pedestrianisation has not proved successful for general retailers and has only been to the benefit of bars, cafes, restaurants and associated activities which have flourished in such an environment...When the council undertook its experiment and closed Lower Helwick and Ardmore Streets, effectively for four days, including a weekend, 95 percent of the general retailers in that area suffered material declines in turnover ranging from 24-68 percent. Not an insignificant detrimental impact on turnover. Any change in traffic flows in the Wānaka CBD, at this time, are premature as the development of Three Parks will, undoubtedly, materially impact on the same.” commented Kreft. 

“I am very concerned in relation to the proposals for parking, both for retail businesses and those that work in them. I consider that the proposed parking options as they currently stand are insufficient and will be relatively remote from the CBD which will impact materially on the retailers.”

“One only has to look at Queenstown and ask ‘Is that what we want here in Wānaka?’ Because unless there are material changes to the plan as proposed, that will be the inevitable result. In conclusion, I believe that the members of  POG and WTCBG support long-term planning for growth and the inevitable changes that will result from same. The principal concern at the present time is that as a result of the failure to consult and the radical and impractical aspects of some of the proposals, there is a lack of confidence and trust in the council staff involved and also in the ability of elected WCB members and local councillors to curtail and/or eliminate the radical aspects of the plan.”

Manager of Wānaka Golf Incorporated, Kim Badger also presented at last Thursday’s meeting. 

“The Wānaka Golf Club Inc. which has over 1000 members, is the only 18-hole golf course in the region of Wānaka, Lake Hāwea, Cardrona, Luggate to Tarras⁠—the largest club in the South Island. So to desecrate the public recreation reserve to build a road, infrastructure, not only goes against the reserves act, it is also disrespectful to this community.” said Badger. “The cost to the ratepayer to purchase new land and pay for the construction of new holes to replace the holes lost for the proposed new bypass road would cost the ratepayers far more than the cost to build the road around the outside of the golf course. There is land undeveloped that would be ideal for a bypass road meeting up with Golf Course Road, heading to the new roundabout on SH 84 through Three Parks, so we can't understand why QLDC is not looking at this option. To rehash the same plan, more or less, from the first plan in June, seems a waste of ratepayer funds.”

Badger added, “The people putting together this business case should have taken the community feedback into consideration. If they are not going to listen to community feedback, they should be talking with the stakeholders, the business owners affected, on the options, but they are not even doing that. We hope that the Wānaka Community Board does their job to reflect their community feedback on this plan, and simply just advise the QLDC consultants who put this plan together to 'Go back and come up with something else, please'. It's simple really!”

WCB board member and owner of local business Rituals Cafe Limited, Chris Hadfield said, “As a business owner my main concern is the continued social and economic viability of the town centre. As a Community Board member I will endeavour to make sure all voices are heard with regard to any changes.”

Hadfield added, “The Masterplan is a concept of options and none are set in stone and I believe there should and will be intense consultation on all aspects before any changes are considered.”

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