Lakefront plan 'destructive', 'weak', 'vague'

The Roys Bay Reserve is among the areas covered by Wanaka's draft lakefront reserves management plan. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
The Roys Bay Reserve is among the areas covered by Wanaka's draft lakefront reserves management plan. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
The authors of the draft Wanaka Lakefront reserves management plan were advised to go back to the drawing board yesterday.

''Weak'', ''too vague'' and showing ''preferential treatment'' were some of the criticisms levelled at the plan by submitters at a public hearing in Wanaka.

Of the 13 reserves covered by the plan, Roys Bay in the Wanaka township - and more specifically a contentious proposal for a lakefront watersports facility - dominated discussion.

Lakefront buildings are allowed in Roys Bay under the draft plan, subject to the plan's main objectives and normal resource consent processes.

John Coe said if the proposed plan was adopted, it would be ''particularly destructive'' for Roys Bay, one of New Zealand's most photographed places.

''It's the start of the end for our waterfront.''

The plan had been ''hijacked'' by watersports facility advocates who had done months of intensive campaigning, Mr Coe said.

''To take an area of our town this important for what is really a limited number of people, I don't think is really fair or logical.

''Council's objective for the lakefront should be its preservation in its natural state.''

Loris King said Wanaka was one of the few townships in New Zealand where ''iconic views'' and the natural foreshore had remained intact since the land was first settled in the 1860s.

''It is lost forever if it is violated.''

Quentin Smith said the proposed watersports facility in the southwestern corner of Roys Bay would be an ''outstanding legacy'' for the town.

However, the management plan was ''weak'' on specific policy, Mr Smith said.

''There is nothing in the plan that increases the certainty of the club ... or even those that oppose the facility or the land manager as to whether this club should or shouldn't be allowed in this location.''

Roger Gardiner, speaking for the Wanaka Residents Association, said there was a ''strong case to go back to the drawing board'' on the plan's policies, which were ''too general, too vague, too imprecise''.

The plan drafting process lacked transparency and it was inappropriate to refer to the watersports club proposal in the plan, he said.

''Why in the management plan should one interest group get specific mention over any other? It smacks of preferential treatment.''

Hearing panel chairwoman Rachel Brown stressed there had been no ''favours or lobbies from any particular group'' and the only time she had felt ''bullied'' regarding the plan was by members of the residents association at a public forum.

Cr Calum MacLeod, also a member of the hearing panel, added that there had been ''no intent to deceive'' in drafting the plan.

Don Robertson, also representing the Hawea Community Association and Guardians of Lake Hawea, said allowing the watersports facility would be ''a case of a very proactive minority overriding a silent majority'' and set a precedent for future lakefront development.

A ''highly valuable piece of real estate'' would be lost to a small group with ''entitleitis''.

Ms Brown said the existing plan set a precedent in 1991 by allowing the Log Cabin building, yacht club and marina on lakefront reserves.

''The thin edge of the wedge has happened,'' Mr Robertson acknowledged.

''But let's not expand it ... there is a very strong feeling that there are enough buildings in the reserves.''

The hearing continues today.

lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz