Hawea Flat School pupil Dylan Rimmer (10, right) has his say at a hearing in Lake Hawea yesterday for a proposed exchange of private land for recreation reserve. His classmates Pipi Horan (9) and Luca Harrington (10) also spoke. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
The equity involved in swapping a strip of private land in
Hawea Flat for nine times as much public reserve was
considered at a hearing yesterday.
The idea of establishing a track linking Lake Hawea township
with Hawea Flat School, in Camp Hill Rd, was first floated
more than a decade ago.
Following negotiations initiated by the Upper Clutha Tracks
Trust (UCTT), Jenny and Craig Laing, owners of land southwest
of the Queenstown Lakes District Council-owned Hawea Domain,
agreed to consider a land exchange which would enable the
proposed track to be formed along the eastern boundary of the
The Laings have offered a nearly 0.19ha strip of land in
exchange for a 1.7ha strip of the domain.
Submitters on the proposal spoke to a hearings panel at the
Lake Hawea Community Centre comprising councillors Ella
Lawton, Calum MacLeod and Simon Stamers-Smith.
Council property manager Joanne Conroy said as part of the
agreement, the Laings had sought the transfer of one share of
the Hawea Irrigation Company - which controls the amount of
irrigation water available at the domain - to their company
Laing Dairy Ltd.
Mr Laing had offered to provide a drinking water source at
the domain's clubrooms in return for the share.
Ms Conroy said while the swap was ''weighted in favour'' of
the Laings, the land on the domain's boundary was not
considered prime land as it was full of tree stumps and would
take ''a lot of work'' to bring into production.
A ''more significant chunk'' of land was therefore offered to
match the value of the land the Laings would lose.
Concerns about the land swap were raised by farmers Bill and
Cathy Allison, who lease part of the domain for grazing.
The domain is also used by the Hawea-Wanaka Pony Club, the
Hawea Picnic Racing Club and a fledgling community food
When the Allisons tendered for the domain lease they were
unaware 22m would be taken off its western side, they said in
their written submission.
They were ''amazed'' the council would offer to swap such an
incomparable piece of public land and said a fairer swap
should be negotiated.
''I'm not against the bike track. It's just the equity in the
swap,'' Mr Allison told the hearings panel yesterday.
He suggested the council look at alternatives, such as
reinstating nearby railway reserve for the track.
However, that option was ruled out when lawyer Mr
Stamers-Smith said the reserve designation had obviously been
lifted from the land as it no longer appeared on the title.
Hawea Community Association (HCA) chairman Dennis Hughes said
he had canvassed Lake Hawea residents and found unanimous
support for the track proposal, although there were some
questions raised around the land swap disparity.
HCA committee member and UCTT trustee Rachel Brown said Mr
Allison's concerns were valid as it was important not to give
away public land too freely.
However, the ''one-off opportunity'' to link the Hawea
communities was too valuable to pass up.
''The inequity isn't ideal ... but it seems like it's the
Pupils from Hawea Flat School told the hearings panel how a
safe walking and cycling link would benefit them.
''Most of my class loves the idea,'' Luca Harrington (10)
The longer and hillier alternative biking route, the Hawea
River Track, was ''a bit dodgy'' for riding on, Dylan Rimmer
The panel will make a recommendation to council regarding the
land swap, which also requires Minister of Conservation