Four submitters opposed to rescue location

The Queenstown Lakes District Council is seeking public feedback on a draft report outlining...
Eely Point in Wanaka. Photo: Supplied
The question of whether a marine rescue centre should be built at Eely Point Recreation Reserve has been debated at a hearing in Wanaka.

Wanaka Community Board members Ruth Harrison, Ross McRobie and Ed Taylor heard submissions on Wednesday from four people opposed to a proposed lease for a new rescue centre for the coastguard.

The 220sqm centre is proposed to be located in the left corner of Eely Point Recreation Reserve, next to the reserve's access road entrance.

The coastguard would use the access road down to the lake when deploying its rescue boat.

All submitters believed the centre's proposed location was wrong.

"Eely Point is special, a reserve, and as such should not be built on," Colin Chisholm told the hearing panel.

"If you plonk a 220sqm building on top of a reserve, for me it's a backwards step."

Fellow submitter Andrea Kendrick agreed.

"I totally support the coastguard and what they do in our community but I just oppose the decision to build a building on Eely Point Reserve.

The Shearer family, who live near the reserve on Lakeside Rd, had their submission presented by planner Jo Fyfe.

They were not opposed to having a rescue centre at Eely Point, but believed the proposed location within the reserve would affect members of the public and neighbouring residents.

All submitters believed the centre should instead be built next to the Wanaka Yacht Club and marina.

However, Coastguard Wanaka Lakes president Jonathan Walmisley explained that that was not a possibility.

"The yacht club found that they couldn't find a space around there to put it without adversely affecting their operation and putting their users at risk.

"If you want us to deploy from the yacht club, you need to ensure that we have access through that busy car park. During the busy period, I can assure you that for about four weeks we could not drive from the yacht club to the marina.

"We just physically couldn't get the boat and trailer through, nor would we find parking for five or six respondents."

At the conclusion of the hearing, Mr Taylor assured the submitters that the proposed location came after months of research.

"This is not something that the community board just came up with. It was over months and months of looking at sites all around the waterfront trying to find the best site that suits trying to get the quickest reaction from coastguard but also has the best outcome for residents."

The hearing panel will determine whether or not to grant the lease to the coastguard and make a recommendation to the Queenstown Lakes District Council.

If approved, the rescue centre would still have to go through a resource consent process.

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