Push for indoor ice rink

An indoor ice rink has been thrown into the mix of possible facilities for Wanaka's $16.8 million sports complex.

Cardrona Curling Club secretary-treasurer Roger Gardiner says having an ice facility and an aquatic centre at the Wanaka complex would improve viability through the sharing of energy costs, while providing added opportunities for the town.

''It would potentially create an ice space that would be available for ice skating, ice hockey, curling, all those sorts of sports which in the past have never really ever been contemplated for Wanaka.

''If you think of what ice has done for Naseby, it could be quite an attraction for tourists, visitors, locals to have another activity to participate in.''

The latest round of Queenstown Lakes District Council consultation is under way for the sports complex, which has a budget big enough for either an aquatic centre or an indoor sports facility in stage one.

An aquatic centre was identified as top priority in a 2011 council survey, but many people in the community think new swimming facilities should be closer to schools, rather than at the Three Parks subdivision on the outskirts of Wanaka where the sports complex is to be built.

Taking into account a proposal to relocate Alexandra's artificial ice rink to a site next to the town's pool and the successful operation of a combined ice rink and swimming pool complex in Gore, Mr Gardiner believed the concept could work well in Wanaka.

He suggested land next to any future aquatic centre be kept available for an ice complex.

''I would think that if you were to start with a fresh, greenfields, clean sheet of paper, it's a no-brainer not to join the two together from the very beginning.

''Ice and swimming would be very compatible in terms of sharing changing facilities or ... whatever, so it spreads the cost over a greater number of people.''

He had also raised the idea with sports facility steering group chairman Duncan Good, but would wait to see if the group decided indoor courts or an aquatic centre was the preferred stage one option before taking things any further.

Mr Good said he had no specific comment on the ice rink idea or any other options at this stage.

''We're just going through feedback and we'll review it all at the end of the month.''

The steering group is holding meetings with sports and community groups at present to see whether the needs and priorities they signalled in earlier consultation have changed.

A survey on the QLDC website is open until the end of the month and a public drop-in session at the Lake Wanaka Centre is scheduled for February 27, starting at 7pm.

lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz