Event dates col­lide

Par­ties work­ing on so­lu­tion to dou­ble-up on lake plans

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By CHE BAKER

Or­gan­is­ers of a new lake swim rac­ing event in Wanaka are con­cerned months of hard work will be over­shad­owed by Triathlon New Zealand, which has an­nounced it plans to host an event on the same day.

After months of plan­ning, Wanaka men Ed­die Spear­ing and Jamie Nor­man were pre­par­ing to an­nounced The Ruby event, which in­volved five open wa­ter swims based at Wa­ter­fall Creek and Ruby Is­land, when they dis­cov­ered Tri NZ was plan­ning to host a .kiwi Tri Se­ries event on the same day. Tri NZ an­nounced on its web page that it would be host­ing a triathlon in Wanaka on Jan­uary 17, the same date cho­sen

for The Ruby after Chal­lenge Wanaka shifted its long dis­tance triathlon from that date to Fe­bru­ary 22.

Spear­ing said after months work­ing with the Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil, har­bour­mas­ter Marty Black, the Wanaka Coast­guard, build­ing a web­site, at­tend­ing a meet­ing in to make sure the event would not clash with another and work­ing with lo­cal iwi to gain con­sent to use the lake, he was dis­heart­ened to hear of Tri NZ’s plans.

The men has also formed a company, ob­tained in­surance and last week got the fi­nal seal of ap­proval from coun­cil with a five-year re­source con­sent.

They were told by coun­cil not to publish the date of the event un­til the con­sent had been pro­cessed but were ready to do so two months ago, Spear­ing said.

‘‘They’ve (Tri NZ) com­pletely jumped the gun ... It’s a case of some­one at Tri NZ think­ing ‘we are Tri NZ and we’ll force it through’ and it’s not on,’’ Spear­ing said.

‘‘I would be very dis­ap­pointed if they are al­lowed to run the event.

‘‘We don’t want to move (dates) but if we are forced to, we want to know right away,’’ Spear­ing said.

Lake Wanaka Tourism gen­eral man­ager James Hel­more said it was an ‘‘un­for­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion’’.

‘‘We’ve al­ready put our support be­hind The Ruby,’’ Hel­more said. He was un­sure if Tri NZ would get the ap­proval it would need to close roads for its event and it would also need the same re­sources as The Ruby for the swim leg.

He be­lieved The Ruby had a lot of po­ten­tial for the fu­ture, and bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion and con­sul­ta­tion from Tri NZ would be a ‘‘pru­dent step’’ for host­ing an event in Wanaka.

On Mon­day Tri NZ me­dia man­ager An­drew De­whurst said ‘‘all we have re­leased at the mo­ment is the date’’.

The date an­nounce­ment had been done to give ath­letes a heads-up on the pro­posed event, De­whurst said.

How­ever, yes­ter­day he said ‘Tri NZ is in con­sul­ta­tion with the coun­cil and the other (in­volved) event or­gan­iser as to a po­ten­tial clash of dates next Jan­uary.

‘‘Tri NZ was not aware of the clash of events when ap­proval for the triathlon event was sought and since be­ing made aware of the po­ten­tial clash has been in con­ver­sa­tion with all par­ties to seek a res­o­lu­tion that ben­e­fits ev­ery­one and de­liv­ers on­go­ing ben­e­fits to the Wanaka re­gion and econ­omy.

‘‘Tri NZ is work­ing through those po­ten­tial ben­e­fits with a view to mit­i­gat­ing any im­pact on other events and in­deed with a view to work­ing to­gether to max­imise the ben­e­fits to all con­cerned.

‘‘Once those dis­cus­sions con­clude Tri NZ will make fur­ther com­ment as to the na­ture of the event and the con­firmed date,’’ De­whurst said.

MAK­ING THE GRADE

Got a young­ster start­ing at school? Email us a photo of your child on their first day of school, with their name, the school and the date they started to mir­ror@stl.co.nz. Pho­tos need to be at least 500kb.

Ri­ley Beat­tie started at Wanaka Pri­mary School on Au­gust 25.

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