Level playing field on the lake front
Operator calls for business ‘pontoon’, wharf
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.
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.
Potential closure: Wanaka businessman Simon Stewart at the log cabin which houses three of his businesses on the Lake Wanaka waterfront.