Bikers concerned for Sticky Forest access

Sticky Forest, on the outskirts of Wanaka. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Sticky Forest, on the outskirts of Wanaka. PHOTO: ODT FILES
A Wanaka bike advocacy group believes changes made to a local subdivision development could provide possible road access to Sticky Forest and allow the area to be given over to housing.

On the Universal Developments’ proposed Clearview subdivision plans dated July last year there was a pedestrian access next to Lot 101 but in the updated November scheme plan they both had been removed and replaced by a cul-de-sac.

Developer Lane Hocking said the road was done "solely for access to my own land and we have no intention of it providing access to Sticky Forest".

He said the reason for the change was Queenstown Lakes District council no longer allowed rubbish truck reversing manoeuvres as the Code of Practice required a fully compliant turning head in new developments.

Council spokesman Jack Barlow said "the turning circle was not viewed as vehicle access to any other location; instead, it was to enable the rubbish collection truck and other large vehicles to be able to turn around, rather than having to do three-point turns in a confined space.

"The turning circle is a current requirement under the subdivision’s resource consent," he said.

Bike Wanaka president Tim David said the explanations for the subdivision changes "do not give us confidence".

Sticky Forest is an exotic pine forest plantation to the north of Wanaka town centre, crisscrossed by more than 30km of trails built and maintained by Wanaka's mountain biking community.

Mr David said a bike counter on just one of the tracks in Sticky Forest has counted almost 200,000 bike movements since May 2016 and more than 300 bike movements on average each day over the past fortnight.

He said "Sticky Forest must remain a recreational asset for future generations, free from residential development.

"Once it’s gone it is gone for good."

When pressed, Mr Hocking said he could not confirm that he would never provide access to Sticky Forest.

"I can’t say what the future holds," he said.

A submission by one of the Sticky Forest landowners, Michael Beresford, on the Queenstown Lakes District Council's proposed district plan asking for part of it to be rezoned as residential was turned down last May.

A lack of clarity around the nature and location of legal rights of access to the site was mentioned at the hearing.

The future of Sticky Forest is now before the Environment Court.


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