Foreshore buyback bid queried

Last updated 05:00 05/07/2014

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The Department of Conservation is concerned public access to Lake Pukaki and the Alps to Ocean cycleway will be compromised by station holders buying sections of the foreshore.

Guide Hill Station, which is halfway up the east side of Lake Pukaki, has applied to purchase 55 hectares along the foreshore from Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).

The station has applied for the land under the Land Act 1948, which enables disposal of land to its former holder.

LINZ acting group manager of Crown property John Hook said the land would be valued before it was sold.

The land parcel was originally owned by the station.

"LINZ is processing an application involving ex-Public Works Act land where the land is no longer required for a public work, and where the applicant - who is a former holder of the land - has sought the return of the land," he said.

Hook said the cycleway, which runs alongside the lake, would not be affected.

"The majority of the cycle trail on the eastern side of the lake is within legal road and does not affect the land that is the subject of the above disposal application," he said.

"Any land that adjoins the shore of the lakes and riverbed areas is not disposed of but, rather, becomes marginal strips under the Conservation Act 1987.

"It is only land beyond the shore that may be disposed of, and these matters are triggered by issues relating to the original acquisition of the land under the Public Works Act 1981."

The purchase price would be set by a current market valu- ation obtained from a registered valuer.

No other application has been made at this stage, Hook said.

Twizel DOC officer Sally Jones said maintaining public access was important, especially if other strips of foreshore were sold off.

The issue was discussed at a recent Canterbury-Aoraki Conservation Board meeting.

"LINZ is selling off land at the lakeshore of Lake Pukaki as these lands have been promised to be handed back to the farmers when the hydro lakes were raised," Jones said.

"This leads to problems as these areas are now widely used by recreational users and in addition the Alps2Ocean cycleway," she said.

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- The Timaru Herald

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