Big ask on cy­cle tours

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By MAR­JORIE COOK

The first salvos have been civilly traded in what might emerge as the big­gest con­ver­sa­tion to grip Wanaka this year: should cy­clists be banned from the Out­let Track and ur­ban parts of the Wanaka track net­work?

Bike Wanaka, the Up­per Clutha Tracks Net­work, and two town plan­ners – Gra­ham Dick­son and De­nis Nu­gent— calmly opened the con­ver­sa­tion at a public hear­ing on Wed­nes­day.

Coun­cil­lors Calum Macleod of Wanaka and Alexa Forbes of Queen­stown are charged with de­ter­min­ing whether Queen­stown tour guides Beau and Andi Rap­ley should be al­lowed a 10-year li­cence to con­duct com­mer­cial bike and walk­ing trips on eight Wanaka re­serves and two Queen­stown re­serves.

The re­serves are ei­ther Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil or Depart­ment of Con­ser­va­tion land and in the Out­let Track’s case, the own­er­ship bound­ary is not clear.

Bike Wanaka was the only op­poser that did not ex­press a view on ban­ning cy­clists from the Out­let Track.

Dick­son went a step fur­ther and sug­gested tracks from Wa­ter­fall Creek to Eely Point should also be pedes­trian only.

Bike Wanaka mem­ber Matt David­son spoke on be­half of pres­i­dent Jamie Green­way, who was un­able to at­tend. The club helped build Wanaka’s net­work of tracks ‘‘for gen­eral public use, not for com­mer­cial op­er­a­tors’’, he said.

The club was also work­ing with the Up­per Clutha Tracks Net­work on a strat­egy for fu­ture track devel­op­ment, which in­cluded com­mer­cial use, due out in May.

‘‘It is pre­ma­ture to grant a 10 year li­cence. Grant a 12 month

Photo: MAR­JORIE COOK/FAIR­FAX NZ

Con­tro­ver­sial re­quest: Queen­stown cou­ple Beau and Andi Rap­ley of Cy­cle Tours NZ are seek­ing per­mis­sion to guide bike trips on public tracks around Wanaka.

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