It is time the township of Lake Hawea had its own seat on the Queenstown Lakes District Council.That, at least, was the view of 93% of the 101 people who responded to an online survey by a new group in the town called Keep Hawea Beautiful.
The group has been formed in response to a proposal by Wanaka developer Lane Hocking for a Special Housing Area near the town.
Group member Tim Ryan provided the Otago Daily Times with the results of its survey yesterday.
Of those who responded, 89% opposed the proposal for a special housing area, but other questions canvassed views on Lake Hawea’s ability to determine its own future.
Lake Hawea is part of the Wanaka ward and is represented by three councillors: Ross McRobie, Quentin Smith and Deputy Mayor Calum Macleod. None of them are from Lake Hawea.
It is also represented by a seven-member Wanaka Community Board consisting of the three councillors plus Ed Taylor and Ruth Harrison, both from Wanaka, Jude Battson (Lake Hawea) and Rachel Brown (Hawea Flat).
Ms Battson said she backed the idea of Hawea having its own councillor, as Arrowtown did, because she did not believe the three Wanaka councillors had “stood up” for Hawea in the debate over the chlorination of the town’s water supply.
Council statistics show Hawea’s population in 2013 was 2172, just 271 fewer than Arrowtown’s, which has its own ward and own representative, Scott Stevens.
However, Mr Stevens said yesterday Arrowtown’s status as a separate ward was based on more than just population. The town had once been the centre of the Wakatipu region with its own borough council. When it was forced to amalgamate in the 1980s it was guaranteed three councillors but that had been “whittled down” to one, he said.
A six-yearly review of representation in the Queenstown district for the Local Government Commission is about to begin.
Council communications and engagement manager Naell Crosby-Roe said yesterday a report and recommendation was being prepared for the council’s June 14 meeting but creating a Hawea ward was not being closely looked at.
“My current feeling would be, population-wise, they wouldn’t have sufficient population to justify a councillor of their own.”
The report will go out for public consultation for a month from mid-June.
In respect of the special housing area proposal at Hawea, just over 80% of survey respondents believed the township’s boundaries needed to be more clearly defined, in the same way as those in Wanaka and Arrowtown.
The same number believed Cemetery Rd should be one of the boundaries, which would leave the land proposed for the special housing area outside the town.
Asked what their main concerns were about the town’s future, respondents made comments such as “growth”, “overcrowding”, “infrastructure overload”, “pollution”, “decisions made for our community by people not living here”, “rampant ad hoc development sprawl” and “development that encourages people to live in Hawea but not to work in Hawea”.
Several used Wanaka as an example of what they did not want to happen in Hawea, listing their concerns as: “over development that is presently destroying Wanaka”, “that Hawea will become a dumping ground for Wanaka’s housing problem”, and “I fear that [Hawea] will grow as Wanaka is doing now”.