Those in favour of extending a public swimming area in Lake
Wanaka by removing a water-ski access lane say the lake is
plenty big enough for boat users to go elsewhere.
Submissions recently closed on a proposal to remove the
100m-long water-ski lane on the western side of Roys Bay,
which extends from Edgewater to Morrows Mead.
Comment was sought by the Wanaka Community Board in response
to potential conflict and safety issues within the popular
More than 20 public submissions supported the removal of the
ski lane, including many from members of the Wanaka Lake
Swimmers Club who had often seen or experienced close calls
with boats while swimming.
The ski lane was rarely used other than over the
Christmas-New Year period and there were many other more
appropriate places for boats and water skiers on the lake,
''Extending the area for swimmers will still mean boats can
be used. There are still plenty of options, and a big wide
lake out there for them to explore and enjoy,'' Kirsty Barr
''Being able to go for a swim in a lake without having to
think about where you should and shouldn't be able to swim is
a right [and privilege] that we rightly pride ourselves on in
Claire O'Connell, who has been open-water swimming in Lake
Wanaka for five years, said there needed to be an area of the
lake where people could swim ''without having to look over
''Taking the ski lane out of Morrows Mead would be a
significant step in this direction.''
Hawea Flat-based triathlete Jonathan Holmes said it was
''just a matter of time before someone gets hurt and that
someone is going to be a swimmer''.
His view was shared by Duncan and Liz Ritchie, who live in
Norman Tce near the ski lane, and described it as ''an
absolute hazard, especially with boozed-up boaties''.
The popularity of swimming in the lake had grown
''immensely'' since the annual Challenge Wanaka triathlon was
established in 2007, and having a safe ''long distance lane''
would benefit swimmers in training, Kevin Gingell-Kent said.
A handful of submissions from Morrows Mead residents opposed
removal of the ski lane.
Lex Cameron said his family and many others made considerable
use of the area. If the ski lane was removed, it would only
add to congestion at the other two Roys Bay water ski lanes,
at the lakefront and Eely Point.
Lawyer Jan Caunter, submitting on behalf of a group of
Morrows Mead residents, said the extension of the swimming
area was supported, but not in a way that compromised the ski
lane on the western side of the lake.
She suggested the swimming area extend only to the ''lone
tree'' in the lake shallows, and to protect swimmers from
boats, a minimum 50m buffer area between the ski lane and the
swimming area should be put in place in which a 5-knot limit
No boats should be permitted past the line marking the
swimming area, Ms Caunter said.
The public feedback will be considered by the Wanaka
Community Board at its meeting on October 1.