Wānaka-Upper Clutha board applauds its success as key projects delivered

by Kim Bowden - Nov 30, 2023

They've been in the hot seat for 12 months and members of the Wānaka-Upper Clutha Community Board are now reflecting on what they're calling a productive year before they set their sights on the agenda for 2024.

“We commenced with a ‘get stuff done’ attitude and have carried that through 2023,” board chair Simon Telfer says in a written statement to media ahead of a meeting of the board today.

The board’s main focus was to complete projects already in the pipeline, and some significant boxes have been ticked on the to-do list.

Among them, the completed conversion of the former Mitre 10 building into Paetara Aspiring Central, the opening of Whare Mahana Luggate Memorial Centre, the construction of Te Ara Maumahara (the former Millennium Path) along stage two of the lakefront development, and the transfer of Mount Iron into community ownership.

“We recognise and appreciate the previous board and council for preparing and funding these and the QLDC teams for delivering them,” Mr Telfer says. 

Motorists will be aware of plenty of roadworks in and around the town, with delays in recent months causing headaches for some, but the board is backing project delivery.

Mr Telfer says the Anderson and Aubrey Road roundabout was initiated, designed and constructed in a relatively short time, while the adding shared path along the length of Anderson Road - the latest addition to the town's shared path network - is weeks away from being fully opened. 

He notes further transport infrastructure improvement by the council on next year's horizon, including roundabouts at Capell Avenue in Hāwea and the Riverbank-Ballantyne Roads intersection in Wānaka.

The majority of the 'Schools to Pool' pathway, focused on allowing young people to walk or bike on a separated pathway all the way from Holy Family Primary School to Three Parks, will also be constructed in 2024. 

“It’s a big undertaking but will result in an enviable and enjoyable active transport route for all of Wānaka’s school children,” Mr Telfer says.

The Wānaka Aiport Liaison Committee was established in the middle of the year, with former chief executive of Environment Southland Rob Phillips appointed as its independent chair.

Mr Telfer says elected member representation on that group are advocating strongly for Wānaka Airport master planning to be undertaken next year. 

In February, the board initiated 'Share with Us' sessions, to provide residents and ratepayers informal opportunities to share ideas and concerns with elected members.

Mr Telfer says they have been well attended and "covered the full gamut of issues in the district".

“I’m particularly pleased with elected member engagement with community groups over the year and I thank them for all the effort that goes in to this, including evening and weekend commitments."

Construction of the 'Schools to Pool' pathway will continue next year (Image: Facebook/Simon Telfer:Chair of Wānaka/UC Community Board).

The board will meet next Wednesday, December 6, to formally agree its priorities for 2024.

The board, which includes Wānaka-Upper Clutha ward councillors, will need to be seen to be advocating and delivering for local voters, many of whom have signed a petition calling for the ward to break away from the Queenstown Lakes District Council due to a general feeling of inequitable treatment compared with counterparts over the Crown Range in the Whakatipu Basin.

How local government is arranged in the area has been a topic of discussion for several years, with a recommendation of a representation review before the last local government election to disband the community board overwhelmingly rejected by residents and ratepayers.

Main image: Elected members of the Wānaka-Upper Clutha Community Board, from left, Lyal Cocks, Barry Bruce, Simon Telfer, Linda Joll, Chris Hadfield, and Cody Tucker (John Wellington, not pictured).

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