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Clutha Navigation Safety Bylaw

Public feedback shapes recommendations for Navigation Safety Bylaw

Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) officers have developed a proposal to amend the Navigation Safety Bylaw 2018 regarding the Clutha River, which Councillors will consider at their meeting this week.

The report details the outcome of informal public feedback during April-May 2018 and recommends that Council commence a special consultative procedure to amend the bylaw in relation to activity on the Clutha River.

QLDC Regulatory Manager Lee Webster confirmed that public feedback suggested fairly divergent perspectives amongst the river-using community.

“The river is used for a wide range of purposes, and many users are concerned about safety and the risk of collision between powered vessels and other users. Others were also concerned with protecting their rights of access and movement,” said Mr Webster.

“Council officers have carefully considered the feedback and prepared a proposal for regulating powered vessels on the Clutha River. We consider this to provide greater protection for the high and growing volume of passive users of the Upper Clutha River during the summer months. Numbers of passive users at other times of the year are lower, therefore a timed uplifting is considered appropriate.”

The report recommends that Council commences consultation on a proposal to amend the clauses within the Navigation Safety Bylaw 2018 that regulate vessels using the Clutha River.

The proposed amendment makes permanent a current timed speed uplifting for powered vessels between Albert Town Bridge and the Red Bridge. It also proposes to prohibit vessels (subject to exceptions) between Lake Wanaka outlet and Albert Town Bridge over the summer months (1 December – 30 March) and to implement a timed speed uplifting for those vessels over the remainder of the year.

“The strongest support regarding the regulation of powered vessels was a timed speed uplifting on the Upper Clutha and a permanent speed uplifting on the Lower Clutha. This received 277 submissions in support and informed the final recommendation,” said Mr Webster.

In total, 663 comments were received during the informal feedback period. The majority were opposed to amending safety obligations on white water boards, a requirement for leg leashes on stand up paddle boards, and amending the definition of “vessel’ to include surfboards.

If approved a special consultative procedure will be publicly notified and a consultation period for submissions open for a minimum of one month.


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