AGREEMENT SECURES PROTECTION FOR DEVIL'S NOOK
Mediation through the Environment Court between the Clutha Mata-Au River Parkway Group and Fulton Hogan Ltd has resulted in an agreement being reached that will benefit river users.
The agreement will protect the Devil’s Nook area of the river by removing the western part of the 46-hectare quarry site immediately adjacent to the river and by ensuring significant and varied screen planting along the river corridor boundaries. The Devil’s Nook is considered a unique feature of the Upper Clutha popular with swimmers, rafters and kayakers. The staging plan has also been changed to allow maximum time for the planting to become established and public access will be separated and screened. Fulton Hogan has also agreed to assist with trail establishment work in the area as well as provide trail access across its land near Lowburn.
The Parkway Group is working to establish New Zealand’s largest river park along the entire length of the Clutha Mata-Au, including a Parkway Trail. Group chairperson, Lewis Verduyn said the agreement will benefit both the community and Fulton Hogan.
“It was our view that the consent as granted did not provide adequate protection for this unique stretch of river corridor which has very high natural and recreational values,” he said. “By appealing against the decision, we have been able to negotiate a compromise that will benefit everyone.”
Alan Peacock, Fulton Hogan regional manager, said, “Working with the Parkway Group allowed both parties to align their views with a clearer understanding of each other’s needs. The long term benefit being the security of an essential aggregate resource to support commercial growth in the local area and the protection of a unique river feature. We have also formed an ongoing agreement to work closely with the Parkway Group to ensure this and other developments along the Clutha River progress in such a manner that supports the protection of our natural environment.”
FOUNDATION STUDIES WELL ADVANCED
The foundation studies under-pinning the establishment of the Clutha Mata-Au River Parkway are nearing completion. These include; a corridor length Landscape Study, a Statutory Study, a Recreation Study, and a Heritage Study. Remaining but scheduled is a corridor length Ecological Study. Data from these studies will contribute to Parkway establishment work, and will eventually provide an essential database for the Parkway Management Plan under an integrated management body, as envisaged.
The studies will also identify numerous opportunities for corridor improvements such as heritage site restoration and ecological restoration work along new trails. Such work will involve, and benefit, the local river communities.
PARKWAY PROJECT ON TRACK
AS the foundation studies near completion, the project focus is moving towards trail establishment. The Project Management team is now working with, initially, two community trail groups - the Upper Clutha Tracks Trust and the Roxburgh Cycle Trail Working Party.
A proposed trail along the Upper Clutha Mata-Au from Alberttown to Luggate is currently being assessed and the route drafted, and similar work is proceeding for a section of trail between the Roxburgh Dam and Roxburgh township, with a possible linkage to the existing Millennium Track in the Beaumont Gorge. It is hoped that other community-based groups will help drive trail establishment work further.
The trail establishment work is seen as a key to encouraging local "ownership" of the Clutha Mata-Au corridor. From a Parkway perspective the trails will also contribute to a more accurate understanding of the primary Parkway corridor landscape, and will lead in to another round of landowner and stakeholder consultation. The Parkway Trail, developed in sections with increasing linkages, will provide huge community benefits, similar to the successful Rail Trail, which will link with the Parkway Trail at Clyde.