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