Wānaka Sun       

“Déjà vu” for Wānaka windsurfers

Posted at 6:00am Thursday 01 Oct, 2020 | By Joanna Perry newsdesk@thewanakasun.co.nz

Windsurfers were left stumped two weeks ago when a Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) bollard cut off access to the ‘windsurf beach' in the outlet area of Lake Wānaka. 

Recognised by the New Zealand Windsurfing Association as the best place to windsurf in the area, the QLDC reserve is accessible via a 400m access track from the end of Penrith Park Drive. 

Wānaka Windsurfing group member Mike Botting said the beach had been popular with gear-laden windsurfers for over 35 years due to its “good wind, access, rigging and launching area,” but issues had occurred since 2006 when Council started upgrading the old access tracks around the lake to walking tracks. 

“The Council intention was to shut all vehicles out of the area, but after a series of public consultations in 2006/2007 the access track was upgraded and Council agreed to keep it open for windsurfers and vehicles,” said Botting. 

Signage was installed to warn walkers and bikers of vehicles, and vice versa, who shared the track for 200m. But issues continued to occur in 2013, 2017 and 2019 - when a request to QLDC to repair flood damage on the track culminated in the installation of the bollard and barriers on Friday, September 18, 2020.

On Tuesday, representatives of the Wānaka Windsurfing group met with the QLDC parks team to discuss the issues around safety and access. QLDC media and channels advisor Jack Barlow said it was agreed that the windsurfing club would have key access to the area by vehicle “on a three month trial basis.”

Botting said that “a positive outcome” was likely for “windsurfers, walkers and bikers to continue to enjoy what is a special part of the lakeside” now that QLDC understood why the outlet spot was important for windsurfers. 

“Given that windsurfers only use this area during strong winds, when there are lower number of track users, there is much less chance for conflict to occur with a key system,” he said.

Read edition 994 of thWānaka Sun here.

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