Rabbit Island change denied
The district's council has declined a request from the Tasman Aquatic Multisport Development Trust for it to commit to the process of legally changing the forestry designation of 115 hectares of Rabbit Island so it can be used for recreation.
Sport Tasman chief executive Nigel Muir told councillors attending yesterday's full council meeting the concept was a 10-to-20-year vision.
The trust's earlier application to construct a $6 million 2.5-kilometre-long, 135-metre-wide and 3.5m-deep eight-lane course at the western end of Rabbit Island was included in the district's 2009-19 10-year plan, but dropped from the current Long Term Plan because it was not considered affordable.
Mr Muir said the trust recognised there were barriers to the development, including the loss of the forest's value and the carbon credit cost of deforestation, together estimated to be about $3.2m, and there was not a strong appetite in the community for the project.
However the trust asked the council keep the option for the island's future development alive by considering a legislative change to the forest's designation to allow more sporting activities.
The trust was prepared to bankroll the $25,000 it estimated it would cost to progress a bill through Parliament.
A staff report to councillors said the forestry in question was used for bio-solids dispersal through the Nelson Regional Sewerage Business unit. Reducing the area of available dispersal land would come at the cost to the council and not leave enough land to meet the demands from population growth.
Moutere-Waimea councillor Brian Ensor said the land was a quiet sensitive area and such spaces were under continual pressure.
Glenys Glover questioned if the council could make decisions about the land without community consultation.
Richmond councillor Judene Edgar questioned why the council should go down the path of changing the forestry designation.
Councillors asked staff to report back on the legal process of changing the forest's designation.
- © Fairfax NZ News