Level play­ing field on the lake front

Op­er­a­tor calls for busi­ness ‘pon­toon’, wharf

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS - By CHE BAKER

Commercial oper­a­tors on Lake Wanaka be­lieve an area on the lake needs to be set aside for busi­ness.

A rec­om­men­da­tion in the draft Wanaka Lake­front Re­serves Man­age­ment Plan is that commercial fa­cil­i­ties be re­moved from re­serve land at Roys Bay when their leases ex­pire to al­low for more open space.

Ad­ven­ture Wanaka owner Davy Pattison, who of­fers lake cruises and fish­ing trips, said the change would give oper­a­tors a ‘‘level play­ing field’’.

He be­lieved the area where the Bul­lock Creek met Lake Wanaka should be used to house commercial oper­a­tors.

He sug­gested build­ing a wooden walk­way and pon­toon and al­low businesses to set up kiosks along it, sim­i­lar to Queen­stown’s lake­front commercial set-up.

‘‘Stick them [businesses] all in a line and people can choose what they want,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s an ex­tremely good area that could be tarted up . . . It’s an ideal spot to do a sim­ple kiosk type thing,’’ he said.

‘‘At the mo­ment we are com­pet­ing on a [pub­lic] pon­toon ... The play­ing field isn’t very level,’’ he said.

Eco Wanaka Ad­ven­tures owner Chris Ri­ley said ‘‘it has to be the fu­ture of Wanaka [that] there are commercial oper­a­tors on the lake’’.

How­ever, he also said ‘‘it has to be a level play­ing field’’.

He hoped there would be a shared al­lo­cated area set aside for commercial oper­a­tors.

Shar­ing the pub­lic wharf be­came ‘‘chaotic’’ in sum­mer.

He did not think ev­ery busi­ness needed to have a build­ing but pos­si­bly a spot on a float­ing wharf.

Har­bour­mas­ter Marty Black said, as far as safety goes commercial oper­a­tors need to be at the north­ern end of the bay.

He also be­lieved there should be a commercial oper­a­tors area set aside at the end of Bul­lock Creek.

If the rec­om­men­da­tion was passed it could see the re­moval of log cabin on the lake­front owned by Wanaka busi­ness­man Si­mon Ste­wart.

Ste­wart runs three businesses, Clutha River Jet Boats, Lake Wanaka Cruises and Lake­land Ad­ven­tures, at the log cabin he owns on land leased from the Queen­stown Lakes District Coun­cil.

It has been the fo­cal point for eight of the 10 years he has been in busi­ness.

Ste­wart’s 2017.

Black be­lieved the log cabin should stay.

‘‘From where we sit, I don’t think there is any need for change,’’ Black said.

Ste­wart had pro­vided good sup­port help­ing out with search and res­cue call­outs and would re­ceived strong sup­port from the com­mu­nity, he said.

Ste­wart said he needed to keep the log cabin for stor­age as other commercial oper­a­tors on the lake did not have as much equip­ment as him.

He could cater for 50 to 60 people on the wa­ter at one time and a kiosk would not have enough room to store his gear, he said.

Ste­wart agreed that a commercial area needed to be set aside for op­er­a­tor use and he thought it should start from the log cabin and go to the Wanaka ma­rina.

He has spent a sub­stan­tial amount on buy­ing the log cabin and paid an ex­cess of $30,000 to the coun­cil an­nu­ally to op­er­ate from it.

Lake Wanaka Tourism gen­eral man­ager James Hel­more said he was re­view­ing the draft to see what im­pacts the plan would have on tourism and the ‘‘vis­i­tor ex­pe­ri­ence’’ in Wanaka.

How­ever, he was not pre­pared to com­ment on the is­sue un­til he fin­ished read­ing the doc­u­ment.

Sub­mis­sions on the plan close on June 6.

lease

ex­pires in

Photo: CHE BAKER BAKER/FAIR­FAX NZ 629315966

Po­ten­tial clo­sure: Wanaka busi­ness­man Si­mon Ste­wart at the log cabin which houses three of his businesses on the Lake Wanaka wa­ter­front.

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