Wānaka roundabout stalls as developer and QLDC disagree

by Lauren Pattemore - Aug 18, 2023

A standoff between the Queenstown Lakes District Council and the developer of Three Parks is stalling progress on the highly-anticipated Ballantyne Road and Golf Course Road roundabout and the schools to pools route.

With $400,000 worth of funding from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency's Road to Zero infrastructure program and the designs almost done, the project was pretty much ready to go. Developer Allan Dippie of Willowridge Developers was also willing to invest some funds into making it happen, as he's also keen to see the roundabout in place.

The roundabout would create another entry into Mr Dippie's Three Parks development from Ballantyne Road.

But now it's been put off until at least next year, as the council and the developer can't find common ground on key aspects of it.

Queenstown Lakes District Council deputy mayor and Wānaka councillor Quentin Smith says the council is "desperately keen to make it happen". 

Mr Smith says the roundabout will considerably improve the safety and function of the intersection, reduce congestion, and provide an additional link to Three Parks, which is a major growth area for the town. 

"We can't deliver this project without the co-operation and agreement of the developer," Mr Smith says. 

It started out as a straightforward, mutually-beneficial agreement, he says, with the developer contributing some money, and the council managing construction of it with Waka Kotahi support.

But unfortunately it's "gotten unnecessarily complicated", putting delivery of the project at risk. The council has to meet certain legal and regulatory functions, and it is unable to commit to and approve certain things to go ahead unless they have detail and certainty, Mr Smith says. 

The council remains open to all reasonable agreements to see the project delivered, albeit delayed, and are hopeful the issues can yet be resolved, Mr Smith says.

Mr Dippie says he'd love to see the council build the new roundabout and associated roading at what he calls "the worst intersection in Wānaka".

"There's not a holdup from our point of view...We just can't get the (council's) engineering department and property department to agree on anything, so things go round in circles and nothing gets done."

Mr Dippie says he's had a sit-down conversation with Mayor Glyn Lewers about the project, and believes his concerns were taken onboard, but then received a call recently from the council to say the project's been put off until next year.

When projects like this one stall, "there's missed opportunities for the town", he says.

"The ultimate losers are the community."

He's been having ongoing discussions with the council for years, and he's under the impression this project's now been put into the "too hard basket", he says. 

"Dealing with council can be a bit like pulling teeth out sometimes - slow and painful."

Exactly what the disagreement is about, and the cause for the hold-up, remain unclear, with neither party seemingly willing to elaborate with specific details.

Crux has follow up questions with the QLDC, however no response was received by time of publication.

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