Car-free, open space trial planned for lakefront

Wanaka town centre trial road closures. | Image: Queenstown Lakes District Council

A trial to create a car-free, public space connecting the Wanaka town centre to the lakefront will take place next month with parts of Ardmore and Helwick streets pedestrianised for several days.

The trial, which draws on feedback from last September’s early insights campaign, will test some of the possibilities being investigated through the Wanaka Town Centre Masterplan project.   

Queenstown Lakes District Deputy Mayor Calum Macleod is looking forward to the trial.

“We’re listening to what the community is telling us and have designed a short programme of activities that will better link our stunning lakefront to the town centre, allow for active travel and bring our people together to talk about how things might be in the future,” Macleod said.

The trial will run from 12pm on Friday, March 15, until 3pm on Monday, March 18. It will involve road closures on Ardmore Street (between Dungarvon Street and Lakeside Road), and Helwick Street (between Ardmore and Dunmore streets) from 3pm on Thursday, March 14, until 3pm on Tuesday, March 19, to allow for set up and removal.

The trials will also include the removal of car parking on the foreshore, with parking provisions at Wanaka Showgrounds. New one-way streets on Dungarvon Street from Dunmore to Ardmore streets, and on Ardmore Street from Dungarvon to McDougall streets will be created, and a dual access bus entry/turning point established near the log cabin. Members of the ‘Wanaka Town Centre Activation’ team will visit local businesses in the area to discuss logistics.

The temporary public open space will include pop-up activities like dodgeball, backyard cricket, artisan markets, community group workshops, acoustic performers, street art and interactive lighting, along with street furniture, oversized board games and family activities.  

Alongside this will be a community information tent illustrating the proposed ideas being explored for the Town Centre Masterplan and transport infrastructure.

“Short term road closures may seem inconvenient; however, this should be seen as a positive opportunity to look to change mindsets. If you build for cars you get cars! If you build for people you get people! I would invite everyone to immerse themselves in this trial, enjoy the activations and give us some feedback. These changes are an honest attempt to connect our lake with our town centre for the betterment of our whole community,” Macleod said.

“I’m looking forward to it immensely. I hope everyone else is too.  See you all down there.”






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