Battlers list bach prize
Wellington couple Martin and Clare Pinder are offering a week at their bach in the Marlborough Sounds as an incentive for people to make submissions opposing a New Zealand King Salmon application to develop a salmon farm in Tory Channel.
Mr Pinder's family built their dream bach at Deep Bay, on Arapawa Island, in December after 22 years of visiting the Sounds.
When building was almost finished, they learned about King Salmon's plans to develop a salmon farm "twice the size of a rugby field" at the centre of their view of Ngamahau Bay.
Mr Pinder said King Salmon representatives told him they had no idea there was a bach being built at Deep Bay, but this should have been obvious from tracks on his property for two years.
"We would not have bought this place if we knew about King Salmon's plans," Mr Pinder said. "We had no expectations of industrial development in the area because we knew aquaculture was prohibited there by council zoning."
King Salmon chief executive Grant Rosewarne was not available to comment yesterday.
Mr Pinder said he had asked King Salmon to buy their bach if the Ngamahau fish farm went ahead but the best the company offered was to plant some trees.
"That would be in front of the view we have spent time and money developing."
The company had refused any further negotiations, he said.
The Pinders' concerns included disruption to the dolphins that regularly visited the bay, pollution from tonnes of fish feed that would be dropped into the water, blocked access for boaties, swimmers and fishermen, frequent visits by service boats and underwater lights to boost fish growth.
"We went to the Sounds to get away from artificial lights," Mr Pinder said.
King Salmon had spent a lot of time and money on advertisements and sponsorships to get community support, Mr Pinder said.
His family and others opposing the company's plans had a limited budget so had to think creatively to draw attention to the downside of aquaculture expansion in the Sounds.
They plan to put the names of people making submissions against the King Salmon proposal into a draw for a week's stay at their bach, including transport from Waikawa Marina and the use of a boat.
Blenheim lawyer Mike Hardy-Jones sees nothing unlawful in the prize draw plan for submissions opposing King Salmon's application.
However, before giving a final opinion he would need to research whether there were legal precedents to the Pinders' holiday offer.
"This is certainly unusual but probably not illegal," said Mr Hardy-Jones.
"If this is a means of getting more people to show their views, it might not be a bad thing."
People often made submissions for personal "not in my backyard" motives, he said.
Often one or the other side in a resource consent application had a very large budget so there was not a level playing field, Mr Hardy-Jones said.
The Pinders' offer was one way to combat this inequality.
Environmental Protection Agency communications adviser Vanessa Hetherington said the legality of offering a possible reward in return for making a submission was not covered by the Resource Management Act, so fell outside the agency's powers.
So long as submissions followed guidelines, they would be considered valid, she said.
Send a copy of your submission to
Guardians of the Sounds
PO BOX 144
- The Marlborough Express