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e-newsletter : Jul 2003
project news > Jul 2003

Progress Report

This is the third update. It is intended to keep all interested parties informed of news and initiatives associated with the proposed Clutha / Mata-Au River Parkway. 

Please send any comments to the Co-ordinator: Lewis Verduyn. info@cmrp.org.nz

Current Support in Principle:
Expressions of support in principle, whether from individuals or tabled at meetings, have come from the following:

  • Duncan Field, the CEO of the Queenstown-Lakes District Council.
  • Clive Geddess, Mayor of the Queenstown-Lakes District Council.
  • Malcolm Macpherson, Mayor of the Central Otago District Council.
  • Neville Peat, Councillor, Otago Regional Council.
  • Michael Deaker, Councillor, Otago Regional Council.
  • Don Harley, Councillor, Otago Regional Council.
  • Fergus Sutherland, Chairperson, Otago Conservation Board.
  • Gilbert van Reenen, Member, Otago Conservation Board.
  • Les Cleveland, Former Chairman, Otago Conservation Board.
  • Jeff Connell, Otago Conservator.
  • Paul Hellebrekers, Manager Area Office, Wanaka, Department of Conservation.
  • Bill Hislop, Chairman, Guardians of Lake Wanaka.
  • David Parker, MP for Otago.
  • Ray McLeod, Landward Management, Land Information New Zealand.
  • Niall Watson, Manager, Otago Fish and Game Council.
  • Aaron Horrell, Field Officer / Administrator, Clutha Fisheries Trust.
  • John Alldred, CEO, Lake Wanaka Tourism.
  • Sir Tim Wallis, and 
  • Lady Prue Wallis, Trustee, NZ National Parks Conservation Foundation
  • Rhondda Poon, Executive Officer, Central Lakes Trust.
  • Peter Mead, Chairman, Central Lakes Trust.
  • Julia Forsyth, Heritage Advisor, Otago Branch, NZ Historic Places Trust.
  • Julian Haworth, Secretary, Upper Clutha Environmental Society.
  • David O'Connell, Natural Resources Unit Manager, Ngai Tahu.
  • Errol Carr, Forest and Bird, Upper Clutha.


Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society Support:
The Executive Committee of the Upper Clutha Branch of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society, determined at a meeting held in mid-June to support the Clutha / Mata-Au River Parkway "absolutely". 

Q.L.D.C. Considers Submissions on Upper Clutha:
A number of submissions were made to the Queenstown Lakes District Council in June seeking funding in the 2003/04 Annual Plan to research issues relating to the Upper Clutha River. The Annual Plan is due for public release on July 18th. Submissions addressed a number of issues, including:

  • The need to research the loss of public access to the river between Lake Wanaka and the Q.L.D.C. Boundary at Sandy Point, and identify remedies.
  • The need to research the effectiveness of the VAL (Visual Amenity Landscape), between Lake Wanaka and the Q.L.D.C. Boundary at Sandy Point, also considering that it could become a guideline boundary for the proposed Clutha / Mata-Au River Parkway. 
  • The need to research Stage One of the proposed Clutha / Mata-Au River Parkway, between Lake Wanaka and the Q.L.D.C. Boundary at Sandy Point, in association with other interested parties, including the Central Lakes Trust, who have offered to fund the setting up process over three years, and the Department of Conservation, who have determined that the proposed Parkway is consistent with the Otago Conservation Strategy, 1998.

Fish and Game / Clutha Fisheries Trust Report:
In mid-June, the Otago Fish and Game Council and the Clutha Fisheries Trust released a detailed report on the loss of public river access between Lake Wanaka and Lake Dunstan. 

The report, by Wanaka Field Officer Cliff Hartford, Dunedin-based Manager Niall Watson, and Aaron Horrel, revealed that of the 25 traditional access points along the Upper Clutha, only 9 are still open. 

The report stated:

"The Upper Clutha landscape is changing rapidly with subdivision and intensification of land use. Several recent residential developments are clearly visible from the river and encroach on the natural river environment."

 "At present there is little planning control on riverside developments and there is little formal protection for the river as a landscape feature. With the current rate of subdivision there is a real danger that the river will become flanked by ribbon development of houses from Lake Wanaka to Lake Dunstan within five years."

 "Public access to the Clutha River is becoming more restricted the historical approach, based to a large extent on negotiated access across private land, is no longer adequate."

"Finally, a river the size, cultural, recreational and landscape importance of the Clutha deserves to have riverside reserves adjacent to it throughout its length."
Note. The Otago Fish and Game Council, and the Clutha Fisheries Trust, both support the Clutha / Mata-Au River Parkway proposal.

Subdivision Pressure Unprecedented:
The unique riverscapes along the Upper Clutha River continue to be the focus of what can only be described as a "land-grab". A number of new subdivisions have appeared in recent months covering large areas adjacent to the river. It would serve little purpose to detail these subdivisions here, suffice to say that the situation pertaining to riverscape protection is becoming increasingly alarming, both above and below the Q.L.D.C. Boundary at Sandy Point. Some developers are targeting riverside areas below the boundary, in the Central Otago District, because there is a perception that the C.O.D.C. is less aware of the issues and therefore more amenable to consent approvals.

Time For A Moratorium:
In light of the alarming and rapid reduction in public access that is now occurring, and the continuing degradation of this unique and very valuable riverscape, I believe that it is now time for a moratorium on riverside developments between Lake Wanaka and Lake Dunstan, until these issues can be adequately addressed.



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