The Draft Masterplan contains some significant proposed roadworks however, how they will be received by Wānaka is largely guess work at this stage. In the initial survey, 96 percent of those surveyed favoured a bypass through town. But, what that bypass looks like may not have the same level of consensus. And as for getting traffic lights; some residents may want to lie down before reading on.
Golf Course bypass
The most popular option from the survey was creating a bypass from Anderson Road, through the golf course and connecting to Golf Course Road at Ballantyne. But, the Wānaka Golf Club (WGC), understandably, has very strong opinions on this.
David Smallbone, chair of the WGC said, “We are very disappointed with the proposals in the Wānaka Town Centre Masterplan affecting the WGC and question the rationale behind building a road and carpark on a Crown Reserve designated for recreation. It just doesn't seem to make sense for the community, either recreationally, financially, legally or logically for traffic management. There obviously hasn’t been thought given to the major affect the proposed road from the Anderson Road roundabout to Golf Course Road will have on Anderson Road, a road already under stress today. However, whatever the outcome we are also concerned there is no provision for a safe crossing/underpass at Ballantyne Road/Golf Course Road corner, a serious omission from the Plan due to the amount of pedestrian and cycle traffic at that corner today let alone what there will be in the future.
“It is quite ironic to read a statement in the Plan about ‘preserving and enhancing the green belt around the Wanaka Town Centre’ yet the same document proposes to desecrate part of it!”
It should be noted in reference to Smallbone’s concerns about the Anderson Road intersection, that according to the Draft Masterplan, the roundabout will instead become a four-way intersection with traffic lights if this draft plan proceeds. Another set of lights may go at the Ardmore/Brownston intersection to help control the flow of traffic into town.
It also needs to be noted that in the QLDC Draft Masterplan fact sheet, it states that the land in question for the bypass “is owned by QLDC”. However, the WGC has responded very clearly, “It is Crown land. They would need to change the designation of the land at Parliament. This will not be easy for them, as normally recreation reserve is turned into another type of green space or sports fields or recreation for another user of some greater need than the current recreation user.”
Smallbone concludes by saying, “The WGC believes the proposals are not appropriate and there are other alternatives which will achieve a far better outcome for the community. The Board will be taking appropriate advice and making a strong submission to Council on this matter (as will most of our 1,070 members).”
Boult responded; “What’s been put forward is for public discussion and input and I’ve seen the comments of the Golf Club. They are a really important part of the fabric of Wānaka and no decision has been made on that, and everybody who has an interest will be fully consulted and all other options looked at before any decisions are made.”
A new road proposed in the Draft Masterplan is to connect Dunmore Street to Brownston Street, by extending past the library (around the back of the Bullock Bar), and up to Brownston near the Wānaka Hotel. What is currently a single-lane bridge over Bullock Creek and a crowded carpark for the library and arts centre, is suggested to become a thoroughfare. To do so, would require demolishing the Wānaka Arts Centre.
Councillor MacLeod said, “[the arts centre] has had a long and varied existence as staff accommodation for the Wānaka Hotel, a backpackers, a storage space and is now also functioning admirably as valuable rooms for a variety of local arts groups.
This may be at, or indeed past, it’s use-by-date. That said I personally believe that we would need to look at a replacement for the function of this building PRIOR to any demolition taking place — if this is decided through this process.”
Councillor Quentin Smith added, “The Art’s Centre is on Council land and I would expect will be demolished and relocated regardless. They are on a short-term role over lease at the moment.”
Studholme Road and Riverbank Road
Another suggested edit to Wānaka’s roads is to create a bypass from Studholme Road, around the back of Meadowstone to connect with Mt Aspiring Road. This would help ease the volume of traffic down MacDougall street.
Riverbank Road is also earmarked for an upgrade from where it intersects with SH6 with traffic coming from Luggate, Hāwea and Albert Town, all the way through to Cardrona Valley Road.
Big changes are suggested for Brownston Street as it is drafted to become the main road across town, instead of Ardmore. Significant works would have to be done to increase capacity and upgrade the many intersections it has along its length. Notably, the suggested speed limit is 30kmph.
Council stated, “One of the key outputs of the activation trial in March 2019 was to measure how the transport network responded to the temporary closure of Ardmore street. The data confirmed that most motorists used Brownston Street as an alternative and was overloaded at peak times.”
‘Overloaded at peak times’ is somewhat of an understatement. Locals who sat in traffic for 45 minutes may describe the delays with much more colourful language.
At the western end of Brownston will be 400 new carparks that have been relocated from the lakefront. What this parking would look like has not yet been discussed but as Brownston is proposed to become the main thoroughfare, it should be hoped that cars will have safe, quick access into the carparking areas whilst not disrupting the main thoroughfare of traffic.
There are traffic lights proposed for the following intersections: SH84 and Anderson Road (with new fourth leg providing the town centre bypass) and Brownston Street and Ardmore Street (Caltex Roundabout). Both roundabouts may be converted to traffic light-controlled intersections however one of the worst right-hand turns from Balantyne onto SH84 is not earmarked for traffic lights.