An aerial view of Lake Wanaka. Photo by Prue Wallis.
Three years ago, the location of Wanaka's proposed sports
facilities was the hot topic at a public forum for local body
election candidates. At last night's ''Meet the Candidates''
meeting, the debate raged on.
About 200 people turned up to the meeting at Edgewater,
hosted by the Wanaka Chamber of Commerce.
Several Wanaka Community Board and Queenstown Lakes District
Council Wanaka ward candidates highlighted the sports
facility's key role in Wanaka's economic and social
However, council candidate Calum MacLeod referred to the
council's handling of the sports facilities project to date
as an ''omnishambles''.
He suggested the council abandon its $16.7 million Wanaka
sports centre proposal in favour of a scaled-back $5 million
facility, similar to Gore's MLT Event Centre, so the
remaining budget could be spent elsewhere.
''Is that the best bang for our buck? Turns out no,'' Mr
MacLeod said of the current proposal.
The QLDC voted two and-a-half years ago to build the town's
sports facility at the Three Parks subdivision on the
outskirts of town, instead of at a town centre site
incorporating the Wanaka showgrounds, Lakeview Holiday Park
and Pembroke Park.
Audience member Steve Schikker asked the candidates whether
they would consider revisiting the town centre site.
Cr Leigh Overton, who is seeking re-election, said he would
not, but noted the council was looking at expanding the area
around the Three Parks site to cater for more activities.
Fellow councillor Jude Battson, also seeking re-election,
remained in favour of the Three Parks site.
''However, if ... you could get the whole community to say
they wanted it to be there [showgrounds site] ... it could be
Wanaka Community Board member Mike O'Connor, standing again
for the board, said it was unlikely residents of the
Meadowstone subdivision, next to the showgrounds and camping
ground, would welcome a sports complex which included an
aquatic facility ''casting a great shadow over them''.
Current community board member Bryan Lloyd, standing for the
board again as well as the council, said he had been
''strongly in favour'' of the Three Parks site at the time it
''Only fools can't change their minds,'' Mr Lloyd said.
''I'm somewhere in the middle at the moment.''