Reef ahead, Coastguard

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Park St neighbours determined to scupper new boatshed plans.

Coastguard Queenstown is sure to hit troubled waters over plans for two large boatsheds and an emergency rescue base by the Gardens.

The Coastguard has sounded out Queenstown Lakes District Council – but not Park Street neighbours, who promise a fight.

The volunteer water-rescue service wants to build on council reserve between existing old boatsheds – its new structures would be 5.4 metres high, “not including the roof”, up to 12m long and 16.5m wide altogether.

Coastguard president Jay Berriman says they’ll have “a similar kind of feel” to the current boatsheds.

But that’s unacceptable to Joce and Philip Sanford, who are building across the road in the prime location.

Philip Sanford: “Why haven’t we been informed? Why should they be allowed to change the outlook that’s been there for 20, 30, 40 years?”

Joce Sanford: “I just think it’s terrible we’re going to have these ugly sheds, they’d block our view completely.”

They’d also lose “a lovely willow we’ve fought to keep there”.

The Sanfords worry about “the noise factor in a residential area” and a dangerous corner nearby – they vow to fight to the bitter end.

“If they want to build a boatshed, they should be building it down by the Frankton marina,” says Philip Sanford.

Another neighbour, former councillor Stuart Maclean, wades in: “I think there are better places than a residential area” – a view backed by fellow resident Margaret Lange.

As well as Park St, Coastguard is eyeing up Frankton Marina, where its 8.5m Naiad craft is based, and a site beyond Frankton Beach which could also house a training facility.

In its submission to QLDC, however, Coastguard states: “We have researched with the police and other emergency service organisations to locate the most appropriate place to house … rescue craft and it’s without doubt the Park St area.

“In amongst the other boatsheds provides the best response time for crew attending to the vessels in an emergency and our surface-of-the-water response to anticipated incidents…”

Joanne Conroy of QLDC contractor Lakes Property Services is also in no doubt about Coastguard’s preference.
“They don’t want to be in Frankton because there’s a 50-50 chance the emergency would be on the main lake and [a Frankton site] adds 10 minutes to the trip.”

Coastguard’s Berriman pushes Park St as “a really good response place”.

“And there are [volunteers] who work in town – with parking the way it is, they can literally run across [to Park St].”

Berriman says any building requires “a lot of planning and consultation plus substantial fundraising”.

In addition to its existing boat, Coastguard is also looking at buying a dedicated river-rescue vessel.