The heart of Wanaka is suffering and the council needs to fund and maintain Pembroke Park properly, councillors have been told.
The centrally located 10.5ha Pembroke Park was often referred to as being the heart of Wanaka and Friends of Pembroke Park president Pam McRae said it was imperative the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) ‘‘acknowledge and honour’’ its management plan for the park.
Speaking at the council’s 10-year plan hearings in Wanaka, Ms McRae said much of the park’s turf was in poor condition, in many places rough, uneven and there were lots of bare patches.
Only ‘‘scruffy specimens’’ remained out of the 155 trees planted in 2004, as vandalism and a lack of maintenance had played their part.
Sports teams have had to find alternative grounds to practise on because of the turf, which was now unsuitable and dangerous, she told councillors.
Pembroke Park is situated between Ardmore, McDougall, Brownston and Dungarvon streets, commands a lakefront view and is a short walk toshops and cafes.
Used regularly for recreation, it is also home to events and weekly farmers’ markets.
Ms McRae said when she resigned as president in 2008 the management plan had been ratified, topsoil had been applied, trees planted and irrigation and power installed.
‘‘It seemed QLDC genuinely had improvements for Pembroke Park at heart and we assumed at that time there was adequate fund allocations in the annual budget to maintain them and to continue meeting the objectives and policies required.
‘‘It is ironical that I should be sitting here 13 years later requesting council to consider a greater allocation of funds to maintain all the work done and the progress made in those early years.’’
In detailing where the council was deficient in its management, she said except for the skateboard park corner, there were no amenities or furniture.
‘‘There are three seats and they are all donated and there are only two sets of rubbish bins. This is incomprehensible in a 10.506ha park which is considered one of Wanaka’s most significant public spaces.’’
Attention also needed to be given to continuing and constructing the pathways outlined in the management plan, she said.
‘‘It is imperative there are safe and user-friendly connections between the town centre and the beach for the young children and the elderly.’’
Ms McRae congratulated the council on its input into the extension and upgrade of the skate park but then asked what percentage of the lease money for the use of Pembroke Park for events went back into it for maintenance.
Council spokesman Jack Barlow said QLDC staff were planning to sit down with Friends of Pembroke Park to discuss additional seating and rubbish bins.
‘‘There are sufficient bins in the park, which will be upgraded as time and budget allows, while QLDC encourages park users to take their rubbish with them.’’
Turf and trees were maintained on a scheduled maintenance programme, as were parks and reserves across the district.
There was no current annual allocation from council specifically for Pembroke Park as it was maintained as ‘‘a high profile sports area’’.
The lease money from events did not directly go to the park’s maintenance, but it did contribute to general maintenance budgets which provided for sports field and amenity maintenance to Pembroke Park, Mr Barlow said.
The News approached Wanaka Community Board chairman Barry Bruce for a response tothe submission by Friends of Pembroke Park.
‘‘I have full confidence parks and reserves staff are making best efforts to maintain and enhance Pembroke Park,’’ he said.