Ruby Island wants you!

Ruby Island

Jude Battson of Ruby Island Management has announced she is standing down as coordinator.

“The time has come to discuss the future of the island, and see if there are any people in our community who would like to take on the role of coordinator, and be a part of the management team,” said Battson. 

The Ruby Island Coordinator role is voluntary. You will need to organise the working bees, manage volunteers, communicate with council, and arrange repair and maintenance of mowers and weedeaters. The person who takes the role needs to enjoy working outdoors with people, lead the team and be able to delegate.

“Ruby Island’s history is significant. It has been a source of enjoyment to many people, for many years,” she continued.  

Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) fund the requirements for the island however both QLDC and the Ruby Island Management team welcome any thoughts and ideas from the public on how the prettiest island in the South Island can be improved. “Do we keep, replace, or remove the barbecue? Users of the island are encouraged to attend and be a part of the decision making for the future,” said Battson.

“After the 1992 Ruby Island fire that left it devastated, in 1995, my friend Vicki Urquhart, who was elected to the Wānaka Community Board, organised QLDC to fund the replanting project. It included blasting holes for the long drop, and for water tanks to irrigate the new native plantings. A pump, powered by solar was installed to operate the irrigation. Mount Aspiring College pupils, there were about 280 back then, and locals turned up for the big working bees. In 1998, Vicki was a bit tired and asked if I would take it over. The weeds were thriving by then so we mostly cleared briar, thistle, broom and lupins for the first few years. We planted more natives and slowly but surely, the island thrived and is a pretty photograph now. It holds a massive place in my heart. Every time a fire is reported, I hold my breath. Light no fires, means light no cigarette as well.”

A meeting is being held at the Wānaka Recreation Centre on December 3 at 7.30pm to discuss the future of the island, and will be attended by QLDC parks and reserves officer Diana Manson. 


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