Jet boat firm admits district plan breach

Last updated 15:00 15/06/2012

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Tuatapere jetboat company Waiau Jet Tours Ltd has admitted breaching the Southland District Plan by running boats on the Waiau River without consent.

The company admitted the charge in Invercargill District Court this week.

The charge was laid by the Southland District Council.

The summary of facts says the council received complaints in January that the company was providing jet boat rides on the Waiau River at Tuatapere during the New Year's Day sports gala. According to witnesses, numerous trips were undertaken. The company did not have a resource consent, the summary says.

The company had obtained a resource consent allowing commercial jet boat activity on the Waiau River in 1998, with a new consent granted in November 2004, allowing the company to operate one jet boat on the river between 7am and 9pm, but limiting the number of trips each year.

The consent expired on December 1, 2009, and no application was made to renew it, although an inquiry was made to the council in July 2011 by a person representing the company, the summary says.

Company principal Murray Dowling admitted receiving a telephone call from council staff and a letter warning him that resource consent to operate commercial jet boat tours on the Waiau River was needed, the summary says.

Mr Dowling had also accepted he had taken fare-paying customers on New Year's Day, but did not explain why the company chose to operate commercial boat trips despite the warnings, the summary says.

The company will be sentenced on June 29.

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- The Southland Times

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