Second chance ski lane
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.