Family adamant farms not wanted

PENNY WARDLE
Last updated 07:52 01/10/2012

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Arapawa Island property owners, Jamie and Kathryn Halstead, remain opposed to New Zealand King Salmon plans to build two salmon farms in Queen Charlotte Sound, despite the company offering to shift cages so they were not visible from inside their holiday home.

Mr Halstead told the Environmental Protection Authority hearing in Blenheim on Friday that proposed salmon farms at Kaitapeha and Ruaomoko at the entrance to Tory Channel would ruin his family's enjoyment of the property.

Mr Halstead agreed with King Salmon's lawyer, James Gardner-Hopkins, that King Salmon's offer to shift the farms meant they would not be visible from inside the house.

However, they could be seen from 10 metres beyond the outside deck.

"You don't go to the Sounds to be imprisoned between the bach and the jetty, you use the whole property," Mr Halstead said.

The family enjoyed walking around the 40-hectare property they bought in 2007, Mr Halstead said. A picnic spot with a view over the Sounds, the beach, the rocky coastline and the jetty all overlooked the proposed farms which would also reduce people's enjoyment of fishing and boating in the area.

When building the holiday home, he had to install an expensive sewage treatment system to make sure the Sounds were not polluted, Mr Halstead said.

“I am disappointed the same is not required of King Salmon.”

Tides in the area washed rubbish into the bay including fish bins and lids from King Salmon's existing Ruaomoko farm, Mr Halstead said. The problem was likely to increase if the new farms were built.

Other worries included noise, light and faeces from seagulls attracted to salmon farms accumulating on the roof where his family collected their drinking water.

Mr Halstead told the board of inquiry, which will decide whether the farms can be built, that he bought the property after being assured by the Marlborough District Council that it was in an area where aquaculture was prohibited.

He did not see why King Salmon should be allowed to interfere with his family's quiet enjoyment of their property when they specifically sought land where there was no threat of industrial-type uses of the sea seen nearby.

Mike Hardy-Jones, lawyer for the Halstead family, said the property bordered a Conservation Department scenic reserve on Kaitapeha Peninsula. Landscape architects who gave evidence to the board agreed this entire peninsula was an outstanding natural landscape, with the exception of King Salmon expert Frank Boffa who rated the northern side as less significant.

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This reversed his opinion in 2009, when a draft Boffa Miskell Marlborough landscape study for the Marlborough District Council described the entire peninsula as outstanding.

Its status was downgraded in a later version.

Mr Hardy-Jones told the hearing that Mr Boffa did not recognise the combined effect of two structures side-by-side and that he had failed to consider values like remoteness, the natural noise of wind, water and birds, tranquillity and the natural character of the land and seascape.

- The Marlborough Express

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