‘Trails to nowhere’ a risk in plans

Quentin Smith
Quentin Smith
Active transport connections through some of Wanaka’s proposed developments could end up going nowhere, which is an "atrocious" result for pedestrians and cyclists, a Queenstown Lakes district councillor says.

During a Wanaka Community Board meeting last week, Cr Quentin Smith agreed with his fellow elected representatives that reserves proposed by developers Studholme Developments Ltd, Orchard Road Holdings Ltd and Pembroke Terrace Ltd should be vested in the Queenstown Lakes District Council, although ratepayers could end up maintaining "trails to nowhere".

Cr Smith accepted advantages of accepting the reserves but said the lack of connections would be "horrific in the short term".

He acknowledged council reserves staff were dealing with just one aspect of town planning but asked for a broader perspective.

"Are we taking a broader view of these connections? ... I am just concerned we are not taking a broader perspective ... The connections are atrocious," Cr Smith said.

Senior parks and reserves planner Aaron Burt said in a report the advantages of vesting reserves now included no costs to the council, facilitating subdivision and creating more residential lots.

Disadvantages included future costs of maintaining the reserves and "a risk a connection beyond might never transpire and the council would need to maintain a trail to nowhere".

Mr Burt took the criticism on the chin.

"Connectivity is important but we can only deal with what we have in front of us," he said.

"We are working on connections ... We will be carrying active transport all the way through. We can’t promise it will be absolutely perfect but we are joining the dots."

Cr Smith’s access concerns also included connectivity to sports facilities, pathway gradients and a staircase.

Community services manager Dr Thunes Cloete said he would take up the concerns with the council’s roading team.

Board member Jude Battson asked Dr Cloete to report back after that discussion.

Cr Calum MacLeod asked if the reserves team was following the Wanaka structure plan.

Mr Burt confirmed it was doing that.

"We are working really hard to make sure these connections are in place," he said.

Studholme Developments Ltd, owned by Wanaka resident Richard Kind, is an eight-lot residential development with two local purpose (access) reserves.

There was a chance that development might be revised and the reserves, which would follow a historic water race, might not progress, Mr Burt said.

Orchard Road Holdings Ltd, owned by brothers Allan and Martin Dippie, is a 93-lot residential consented subdivision and proposes one local purpose reserve for connections and services.

It is part of a larger, multi-stage Alpine Meadows subdivision and other reserves for stormwater and a 3000sqm park could be possible as the wider project proceeds.

Pembroke Terrace Ltd is directed by Grant Bisset, Trevor Currie (both Wanaka), Ross Gibson (Ashburton) and Justin Roake (Christchurch).

It has a 117-lot, staged residential project under way, with a 3000sqm recreation reserve.

Mr Burt said proposed recreation reserves in staged developments were usually vested in the initial stage to protect against the possibility they did not eventuate.

In the Pembroke Terrace subdivision the reserve might not be created until stage two or three.

Pembroke Terrace’s land had previously been earmarked for the Bright Sky special housing area, which did not proceed. The defunct Bright Sky development had board approval for a different local park.

However, the Pembroke Terrace land had an important public access easement, Mr Burt said.

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