Big Move three aims to: “maintain visual connections with the wider landscape, bring nature into town; and reflect the high country and alpine landscape materiality in the town centre.”
How Council plans to do this is by “removing all the lakefront parking to enhance visual connections to the lake; enhance Bullock Creek plantings, access to stream edge and habitat creation; create gateways that define the edges of the town centre using signs, planting and public art”; but most significantly, “Connect Pembroke Park to the lake by removing Ardmore Street and lakefront parking. This would result in no overall loss in park area and would be implemented via a landswap with parking moved to the southern side of the park.”
To ascertain how people who live on that section of Brownston Street feel about the plan, the Wānaka Sun door knocked every house from the corner of MacDougall Street to the corner of Dungarvon. Excluding the hostels and motels, only two houses had permanent residents and they both had opposing views.
Damon Plimmer, vicar of St Columbas whose property is owned by the church was largely supportive of the plan and said, “What I like about the plan is that it preserves Pembroke Park, which is a major asset for the Wānaka community. How they configure the roading and parking around that is, ‘whatever is best for the community’. When the trial was on, the congestion along Brownston was horrific and that’s my concern. So it’s not how the plan would intrude on me personally, but whether it solves the long-term issues we have as a community.”
Further down the street, with a polar opposite opinion was Loris King. King is a Wanaka resident, and along with other members of The Friends of Pembroke Park vehemently oppose any changes to the boundaries of the Pembroke Park reserve.
“Pembroke Park is a Reserve under the Reserve Act and as such rules apply as to
the use of the park, and only car parking for park users is permitted,” she said.
In regards to the proposed changes to the reserve, Councillor Quentin Smith sees things differently. He said, “There is a clear process under the Reserves Act and the Minister of Lands can sign off on such a change. Changes to reserves and Crown land are not undertaken lightly and require a full public process. The rules are well understood and clear in legislation. I would expect that changes to boundaries would only be made under important situations and opportunity exists to ensure any change is net neutral,” he explained.
Smith said that the lakefront land that is acquired in the park’s movement can become reserve land, to offset the land on the southern boundary on Brownston Street that becomes a carpark. The FAQ sheet that accompanied the plan simply stated that council will have to go through a statutory process to enact these changes which means the Friends of Pembroke Park’s ardent belief that reserve boundaries can’t be changed may be misguided.
Councillor Calum MacLeod stressed the point that “everything in the DRAFT Wānaka Masterplan is a work in progress. It is, at its core, an aspirational plan showing how the town could look, feel and function in the future. Solutions will evolve and change over time.”
Councillor Ross McRobie said, “The concept of stretching Pembroke to the lake came out of thoughts following the trial so this has been built into this Draft Plan. Some people will like this and others won’t.”
When asked about acquiring land (whether Crown or private), Mayor Boult responded,” At the end of the day there is the Public Works Act which enables us to acquire land for essential works but that’s a long and involved process and I hope we won’t have to go there but there is a long way to go before we need to think about that.”
Therefore any questions around acquiring land or moving carparks need to be brought to the conversation that this draft plan is initiating. “Nothing is decided yet”.