A long-time Wanaka resident who fought for years to keep Pembroke Park free from development is now fighting to save the town’s oldest reserve.
Former Friends of Pembroke Park president Loris King said over the past two decades the Queenstown Lakes District Council had written successive management plans for Lismore Park “but nothing happens”.
In 2003, the management plan for the park was a 44-page document plus 16 pages of appendices and maps.
In 2018, the management plan for the park was only half a page of text in an eight-page document which included management plans for five other Wanaka reserves.
Mrs King said “we fought to keep buildings and cars off Pembroke Park”.
“It is beautifully kept, and it is an icon for Wanaka, and Lismore Park could be like that.
“It is just a jewel up there looking out over Wanaka,” Mrs King said.
The 2003 management plan described the 18.5ha community and recreational park as the historical northern extent of the original township and a visible remnant of the original green belt. One of the plan’s objectives had been to install signage within and outside the park to provide directions and information.
This included an information board at the corner of Lismore and Hedditch Sts, signage identifying the park at each major corner and signs from Ardmore St and the foreshore to direct people to the park.
Many more wooden seats were also proposed.
Mrs King said no information board or signs had been erected and “you had to get up early” if you wanted to sit on the park’s only wooden seat.
Deputy mayor Calum MacLeod agreed Lismore Park was a jewel in the town’s green belt.
He said he had been “pushing for many years” to address the park’s issues, such as formalising parking along the southern edge of the park and signage.
He said he had sent an email to the council’s general manager, community services, Thunes Cloete in June last year, raising these concerns and received only a one-line reply.
Wanaka ward councillor Quentin Smith said reserve management plans were enabling documents, not work programmes as such.
He said Lismore Park might not have sports fields but had a great set of informal facilities such as bike jumps and frisbee golf.
“Informal open space is as valuable to our community as a rugby field or playground,” Cr Smith said.
There were plans to improve the pathways and council staff were looking at furniture opportunities but he was “disappointed with the damage that has occurred by parking on Lismore St in the reserve”, Cr Smith said.
Council spokesman Sam White said different levels of service were provided to the reserves because Lismore Park was classed as a community park and Pembroke Park was classed as a premier park.
He said there were now two seating areas in Lismore Park but the council would continue to look at more options.
The council’s parks team was also looking to replace the main naming sign for the whole park.
Mr White said parking, particularly related to nearby construction sites, was part of “a wider ongoing discussion” with site managers of the major projects under way on the lakefront.
“We expect this to improve with the completion of the two major projects on the lakefront and have an understanding with contractors that any effects of parking related to the construction work will be made good,” Mr White said.