Wakatipu Yacht Club’s reluctantly removed chains blocking vehicle access to the Queenstown lakefront reserve it leases from the council.
The club — which co-leases the Kelvin Peninsula reserve with the Wakatipu Waka Ama Club and Wakatipu Anglers Club — was sick of people vandalising and stealing from its boats, and vehicles blocking members’ access to them.
It put up chains across both access roads just before Christmas, with a combination lock allowing only members of those clubs to drive down to the lakefront.
A ‘‘concerned ratepayer’’, however, claimed the yacht club was discriminating against elderly and disabled people who couldn’t walk down to the public reserve.
Queenstown councillor Craig ‘Ferg’ Ferguson also told Mountain Scene he’d have expected the club to contact the council about its concerns before blocking vehicle access.
Subsequently, council senior planner Aaron Burt, in a letter to yacht club commodore John Stalker, told him their advice was the chains were ‘‘aside from the lease and your abilities under the lease’’, and they needed to be removed.
‘‘We are mindful of public concerns about access to the recreation reserve and Crown lakeshore.
‘‘Whilst there are provisions under the lease for us as lessor to resolve such matters formally, our preference is to address this in good faith.’’
As a result, the club removed the chains before it hosted the New Zealand International Moth Champs in February.
Stalker, however, says ‘‘when we put the chains up, we had no issues’’.
‘‘We had 15 to 20 vehicles parked at the top of the hill every day, with people walking down there.’’
The amount of broken bottles and other litter around the shore had also ‘‘drastically reduced’’, he told Scene earlier.
With the chains removed, Stalker’s concern is how council can guarantee club members access to its leased land.
‘‘If vehicles are parking everywhere so people can’t get their boats out, we’re losing access to our lease, so what’s the point in us leasing that land?’’
In addition, he’s disappointed he’s not heard back from the council after it promised to get back to him with ideas on how to solve its