Sec­ond chance ski lane

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

A ski lane in the Marl­bor­ough Sounds is mak­ing a come­back af­ter un­ruly wa­ter-skiers had it taken off them last year.

High-speed skiers too close to shore were cre­at­ing ‘‘sig­nif­i­cant safety risks’’ in Ngakuta Bay, also pop­u­lar with fish­er­men, swim­mers, pad­dle board­ers and kayak­ers, so the ski lane was closed.

But an on­slaught of ‘‘50 to 70 emails’’ op­pos­ing the clo­sure sparked an in­ves­ti­ga­tion which found risks could be re­duced.

Marl­bor­ough har­bour­mas­ter Luke Gro­gan said the lane was closed over con­cerns wa­ter-skiers weren’t com­ply­ing with the speed by­law, which re­quired all boats to not ex­ceed 5 knots within 200 me­tres of the shore.

The clo­sure of the ski lane last Oc­to­ber was con­sid­ered the most im­me­di­ate and ef­fec­tive mea­sure to re­duce safety risks, Gro­gan said.

‘‘We re­ceived in the vicin­ity of 50 to 70 emails protest­ing the clo­sure of the lane, so we thought we’d bet­ter take a sec­ond look at this,’’ Gro­gan said.

Christchurch res­i­dent Ian Good­win, who spent his hol­i­days in Ngakuta Bay, pro­vided feed­back to the Ngakuta Bay Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion to op­pose the clo­sure.

‘‘Whole gen­er­a­tions have been ski­ing there in the Sounds since for­ever,’’ he said.

Des­ig­nated wa­ter-ski lanes al­lowed boats tow­ing skiers, wake-board­ers and sea-bis­cuits to tran­sit at high speed be­tween the shore and open wa­ters where no speed re­stric­tions ap­plied.

Good­win said he had spent 30 years wa­ter-ski­ing in Ngakuta Bay, hav­ing first vis­ited the area as a child.

He said there had been no wa­ter-ski ac­ci­dents in the bay that he knew of, but that fu­ture con­cerns could be al­le­vi­ated with ed­u­ca­tion.

‘‘It’s mak­ing peo­ple aware with more sig­nage and pam­phlets . . . mak­ing them aware of their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties,’’ he said. Trafal­gar Park will be the venue for next week’s Mitre 10 Cup semi-fi­nal, af­ter the Tas­man Mako se­cured home ad­van­tage in their vic­tory over Hawke’s Bay.

Tas­man Rugby chief ex­ec­u­tive Tony Lewis con­firmed Nel­son would host the semi-fi­nal, al­though there is still a chance Blen­heim could get a taste of fi­nals foot­ball, de­pend­ing on the out­come of next week’s semis.

Lewis said if the Mako made it through to the fi­nal as top qual­i­fier, Lans­downe Park in Blen­heim would ‘‘def­i­nitely’’ be the host for the fi­nal of the com­pe­ti­tion.

Tas­man has only hosted one premier­ship semi-fi­nal be­fore, when they beat Can­ter­bury in Trafal­gar Park in 2014.

With their 29-0 win over Hawke’s Bay on Thurs­day night, Tas­man, on 43 points, are sec­ond on the Mitre 10 Cup premier­ship lad­der.

Com­pe­ti­tion lead­ers Auck­land beat North Har­bour 45-29 at Eden Park yes­ter­day.

Lewis said now it was a case of sit­ting back and wait­ing to see where the chips fall.

‘‘At the start of the sea­son we al­ways wanted to get a home semi and a home fi­nal.

‘‘But we’ve got to put first things first and just fo­cus on win­ning the next game.’’

Next week­end’s match will mark the fifth semi-fi­nal in a row for Tas­man, af­ter be­ing pro­moted from the cham­pi­onship di­vi­sion in 2013.

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