Suggestions of bias for a proposed watersports facility
on Wanaka's lakefront angered and ''offended'' members of a
hearing committee yesterday.
Speaking on day two of the draft Wanaka lakefront reserves
management plan hearing, lawyer Jan Caunter echoed concerns
raised by a previous submitter about changes made to the plan
by the Wanaka Community Board.
Ms Caunter referred to a policy in the plan's original draft
to: ''Consider support for the construction of a combined
Watersports Club building within the southwestern end of Roys
Following a community board workshop in March the policy was
reworded to read: ''Buildings consistent with the objectives
of this management plan will be allowed within the Roys Bay
The change ''put the ball firmly in the court of the
watersports users and they have been celebrating ever
since'', Ms Caunter said.
Wanaka Residents Association spokesman Roger Gardiner earlier
said the wording change resulted in a ''wide-ranging new
policy with implications for all of Roys Bay and other
Ms Caunter was representing Lyall and Gaynor Shearer and Ross
and Judy Young, who object to buildings on the lakefront.
''My clients, along with ... other submitters, have a genuine
concern that the community board has predetermined the final
outcome of the watersports trust's desire to allow a building
on the foreshore,'' she said.
Her comments prompted another strong reaction from hearing
committee chairwoman and community board chairwoman Rachel
Brown, who said she was ''deeply personally offended to be
once again accused of predetermination'', referring also to
Mr Gardiner's comments the day before.
''I took a statutory declaration to become a member of the
community board and I take that seriously,'' Ms Brown said.
''We changed that clause because it specifically mentioned
the intent of the watersports trust ... [leaving it in] would
look like we were specifically advocating for them ... we
were trying to do a better job by accommodating more
Hearing committee members Calum MacLeod and Bryan Lloyd also
rejected the notion of bias.
''You seem to be suggesting that the sports facility is a
fait accompli ... I take exception to that as well,'' Mr
Lloyd told Ms Caunter.
Wanaka Watersports Facility Trust chairman Michael Sidey said
the submissions supporting a building for lake users far
outweighed those in opposition.
However, it was ''not an us-and-them debate'', but rather a
debate over what was best for Wanaka.
Wanaka Rowing Club member Eachann Bruce said rowing was one
of New Zealand's most successful Olympic sports and ''with
success comes people wanting to get involved''. However, the
lack of a lakeside clubhouse in Wanaka meant rower numbers
had dwindled in recent years and the proposed facility would
help revive youth participation.
Triathlon promoter Tom Pryde said Wanaka had become the
triathlon, multisport and adventure capital of the world, and
should do ''whatever it can to ensure that that status
remains'', including allowing the watersports facility to
The hearing committee will prepare a final draft of the plan
for consideration at next month's community board meeting.