Uncertainty still looms over the future or fate of Wanaka’s historic Millennium Walkway. Queenstown Lakes District Council’s (QLDC) draft Wanaka Town Centre Masterplan, which was released on Monday for feedback, failed to address details as to whether or not the path will remain in its original location on the town lakefront or instead move to another location in town.
Last April, the Wanaka Community Board decided to pause stage two of the Wanaka Lakefront Development Plan to align with parking considerations delivered by the Masterplan; the redevelopment work would have resulted in the path being removed and many of the tiles reprinted onto new tiles and placed in a garden area. The decision came after QLDC had conducted a March trial to uplift existing tiles to determine how difficult it would be to move the 650m, 2000-tile path.
The concept of moving the walkway from its original location as part of the lakefront redevelopment continues to be met with heavy opposition and objection. Liz Hall, the original Millennium Project coordinator, is leading the charge of the Millennium Walkway Interest Group and trying to prevent the path from being removed and many of the tiles relocated. She recently presented QLDC with a re-circulated Year 2000 Wanaka Millennium Project petition that gathered 4,408 signatures of support to keep the path in its existing location and mandated that “any lakefront changes be made to fit in with it.”
When asked about what may be in store for the Millennium Walkway, a QLDC spokesperson said, “...Stage Two [of the Wanaka Lakefront Development Plan] and next steps regarding the Millennium Walkway will be revisited following decisions made by the Wanaka Town Centre Masterplan team.”
Calum MacLeod, QLDC Deputy Mayor, Councillor and Wanaka Community Board Member, told the Wanaka Sun, “I am a supporter of the Millennium path and always have been. Cinema Paradiso sponsored some tiles on the original path, and I signed the original petition to save the path. The wording of the recent petition may have changed; however, I am sure that the sentiments remain.
“I argued for the lift test to be done to see if the tiles could be relocated. I have spoken up for the tiles on numerous occasions, including during Wanaka Community Board meetings. I will continue to argue for them to be incorporated within any ongoing design process.
“They are obviously considered important to and valued by our community. I guarantee that you will always see visitors reading the tiles virtually every time you drive along this stretch of the lakefront.
“If we can incorporate them into any future designs, why wouldn’t we? Irrespective of overall quality. Quality is, after all, relative.
“My only concern has been from a safety perspective. It is my understanding that some of the tiles are too close to our roading network. This may be a minor issue.”