Wanaka lake users, including (from left) Wanaka Rowing Club treasurer Jaime Hutter, Wanaka Lake Swimmers Club member Jackie Boyd and daughter Zelda (10), rowing club member Riley Bruce (15), multisporter Alistair Madill and Wanaka Watersports Facility building committee member Nick Blennerhassett and chairman Michael Sidey, have joined forces on a proposal for a shared sports facility on lakefront recreation reserve. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
Several Wanaka watersports groups have combined forces with
the Wanaka Rowing Club in a bid to build a shared $1 million
facility on the town's lakefront.
The project has evolved from the rowing club's long-running
and, at times, contentious battle to find a suitable site for
a boat shed next to Lake Wanaka which would meet its
requirements and win public approval.
After eight different site proposals were considered and
subsequently abandoned by the club, it sought the involvement
of the Wanaka Lake Swimmers Club and local multisport and
kayaking fraternities, which have now joined the project.
''We think that probably involves about 1000 Wanaka people,
200 families,'' Wanaka Watersports Facility building
committee chairman Michael Sidey said.
''My thoughts were that if you involve more groups in Wanaka
you create a wider usage and, therefore, a more acceptable
The building committee's Wanaka Rowing Club representative,
Nick Blennerhassett, said rather than establishing multiple
facilities, one building could cater for all lake user
Mr Sidey said the groups had agreed on a preferred lakefront
building site, on recreation reserve in the southwest corner
of Roys Bay just west of the Rotary playground and in front
of two prominent sequoia trees, which would effectively
screen the building from neighbours opposite.
''We think the site doesn't affect anybody directly. We're
not encroaching on anybody's privacy or [creating a] visual
The site is one of four originally suggested by the Wanaka
Residents' Association as being suitable for a boat shed.
The building committee has submitted its draft plans for the
building - prepared by Wanaka architect Alistair Madill - to
the Queenstown Lakes District Council for inclusion in its
Wanaka foreshore draft reserve management plan.
The management plan provided a ''better process'' for the
project to get off the ground, ''rather than putting
something out there and getting knocked around'', Mr Sidey
The building `s footprint is 420sq m with a maximum height of
5m, and includes storage for rowing boats and kayaks,
toilets, changing rooms, a gym and outdoor bike stands.
There is no social area in the building so as to alleviate
public concern about noise and late-night use.
''We're very conscious of the public's requirements,'' Mr
Members of all the watersports groups were ''very
enthusiastic'' about the project and its long-term benefits.
''The lake is a great recreational facility and to encourage
young people to stay in the town and be active, positively
active, this is a great way to do that we think.
''Things do change and we've got to adapt to what is required
for the next generations and this will do that for the next
The Queenstown Lakes District Council had been ''very
encouraging'' about the project, but had requested the design
also include public toilets.
Ms Blennerhassett said it was hoped, all going to plan, the
first sod could be turned next year.
The rowing club's last site proposal - near Morrow's Mead on
the western shore of the lake - was made public more than a
year ago and gained provisional approval from the Wanaka
Community Board. However, it was later deemed unsuitable by
the club because of access issues.
The club had earlier withdrawn an application for a lease
over a site next to Stoney Creek because of objections from
neighbours. Plans to build at Eely Point were also scrapped
because of safety concerns over lake user conflicts.