Boating bylaw plan prompts legal action threat

CHE BAKER
Last updated 05:00 19/08/2014

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Otago Fish & Game has threatened legal action against the Queenstown Lakes District Council after what it believes were "planning deficiencies" around its proposed navigation safety bylaw.

At a submission hearing on the proposal, held in Wanaka yesterday, game environmental officer Peter Wilson said: "We are pretty disappointed the bylaw had been made without consultation with Fish and Game and stakeholders."

The Fish and Game Council was investigation legal options under the Maritime Transport Act, Wilson said.

"It's something the council is considering at the moment ... I don't think the council [QLDC] has followed a robust enough process," he said.

Wilson said Fish & Game had raised similar concerns with council in 2009 and not being consulted again meant it was a "consistent concern".

The proposed bylaw applied to the navigable waters and foreshore within the Queenstown Lakes district and its purpose was to regulate and control the use and management of vessels.

While the game council supported changes in regard to wearing lifejackets on vessels over six metres in length, it "strongly opposed" proposed speed increases and upliftings along the Clutha and Hunter rivers.

"No evidence has been presented that justifies the changes," Wilson said.

"That is the most glaring error."

He said he believed the council needed to talk to the community and stakeholders first so a "holistic assessment" could be completed before changing a bylaw.

"We think the bylaw review should be put on hold until after the district plan process is finished," he said.

Another submissions hearing will be held in Queenstown tomorrow.

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