Event dates collide
Parties working on solution to double-up on lake plans
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.
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