The draft Wanaka Masterplan is due in June and there are many people and groups awaiting it with nervous, and disgruntled, anticipation. One such group is the Wanaka Golf Club which is currently facing the threat of having a road put right through the back nine to link Anderson road with Golf Course Road, and onto Cardrona Valley Road. Whilst non-resident town planners may dispassionately believe this is a viable option, for the historic golf club, the proposal is not so welcome.
Kim Badger, manager of Wanaka Golf Club, said, “Looking at the plans, the course would lose holes 10 and 15 at least, in order to put a new road to link up with Golf Course Road from Anderson Rd. They wish to take the land that was gifted to us and turn it into roading.
They would then need to buy a similar size piece of land to replace what they take off us, presumably land in north Three Parks, beside the existing golf course's seventeenth and eighteenth holes. This would be extremely expensive for QLDC to purchase. Also they would have to pay for the re-alignment of the back nine holes to incorporate the new land and new holes. All of this expense before they have even paid for the new road they plan.” Badger points out that remaking the back nine of the golf course, is all paid by ratepayers. Whilst some golfers might not object to a course makeover, non-golfers can be rightly miffed that they are paying for someone else’s hobby.
Badger doesn’t begrudge the need for a link road to connect east to west, but said, “A cheaper alternative that won't cost ratepayers so much would be to utilise the land not yet developed in Three Parks to provide the link from Anderson Road through to Cardrona Valley. There are several options within this piece of land. Either Tim Wallis Drive or put a road adjacent to the golf course, still linking up with Golf Course Road. These alternative options would also provide better access into Three Parks to access the new school and new supermarket. Aubrey Road and Riverbank road should be utilised as a bypass to Cromwell/Queenstown for the suburbs of Northlake/Hikuwai to relieve congestion on Anderson Road.”
Badger’s suggestion sounds logical and is supported by Three Parks developer, Allan Dippie. “Yes we have always been supportive of the idea of connecting Three Parks with an upgraded intersection at Golf Course and Ballantyne Road and have asked council to consider this over quite a few years now,” he said.
“Another road could also potentially link back from this to Anderson Road but I’m not sure how that would affect the golf club whom I’m sure don’t want any of their holes disturbed and you can’t blame them for that, a 17-hole golf course is not much good!” Dippie says that he thinks it’s time to meet with the golf club and to work together for a roading solution.
“We already have legal advice which indicates that the process for QLDC will be very difficult, lengthy and expensive to turn Crown reserve land designated for recreation only, particularly that it was gifted to the crown as a condition of that transaction, into infrastructure,” said Badger.
David Smallbone, Chair of the Wanaka Golf Club said, “The course is on a Crown Recreation Reserve of nearly 56ha, administered by QLDC on behalf of the Crown, and designated for public golfing activity. The Wanaka Golf Club has taken a lease of the area from QLDC to ensure the purposes of that designation are fulfilled. That has enabled the club to develop and manage what is recognised as one of New Zealand’s great small golf courses.
“A gift of land from Mrs Macpherson of Wanaka Station saw the formation of the second nine holes, east of Macpherson Street, in 1967. This land was gifted to the Crown on condition it was a reserve for golf and was designated for golfing recreation purposes to help protect the land’s ongoing use as a golf course.”
“The club’s lease of the recreation reserve from QLDC runs on 33-year cycles and is perpetually renewable. This gives increased legal protection to the reserve’s open spaces, designated as they are for golfing recreation. That is an extremely important factor as growth pressures continue in the Queenstown Lakes District, and Wanaka in particular, and the Wanaka Golf Club is committed to ensuring there is no development encroachment on the course so that the Wanaka community can continue to enjoy the benefits generated by the course,” he said
Ultimately, Badger said that whilst they do not believe this road is the best option, “the Wanaka Golf Club would like to facilitate what is best for the town, so if it is the majority vote from ratepayers, we will of course work with QLDC on this project.”
Badger and Dippie also agreed that the dangerous intersection at Golf Course Road and Ballantyne Road corner is quite urgent given what a problematic intersection it has become and that an underpass from the front nine to the back would also be a major safety bonus.