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Boulder Bank saved from road

13 February 2008 - Nelson

Boulder Bank saved from road

Forest & Bird is pleased that Nelson City Council has declined consent for an access road to be built along Boulder Bank - a magnificent landmark that greets air travellers as they arrive in Nelson.

Forest & Bird Top of the South Field Officer Debs Martin welcomed the decision.

"The Boulder Bank is a 12-kilometre-long structure, often assumed by visitors to be artificially built, but is actually a natural structure which is around 10,000 years old. There is no other feature like it in the world, and we are relieved to know that a road will not be allowed to detract from this natural wonder."

Living on the Boulder Bank are rare and common skink, as well as nesting birds like the banded dotterel. Underlying the proposed access was an archaeological site dating back to the 15th Century. Forest & Bird's efforts to protect the Boulder Bank from rock removal, roads, and other destructive activities date back to the 1970s.

Last year the Cawthron Institute applied for resource consent to construct an access road along the Boulder Bank to its aquaculture centre. Forest & Bird made a submission that this internationally important feature should be protected, not further degraded.

The Department of Conservation Boulder Bank Scenic Reserve adjoins the new Horoirangi Marine Reserve (a Forest & Bird initiative), and a Nelson City Council recreation reserve.

"In our submission we said it was time that we should be looking at protecting and restoring this very important landmark," Debs Martin says.

In a decision released today by the council, consent was declined on the basis that although it was "physically possible to build the route in this location, it does not amount to sustainable management of natural and physical resources". The Commissioner noted that the intrinsic landscape values of the site would be seriously affected and could not be mitigated.

"It is very encouraging that, against so many pressures for development, the council is willing to weigh up the information and make a decision to protect our important natural features," Debs Martin says.


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