The Department of Conservation plans to buy several parcels
of Contact Energy land in the Upper Clutha if a funding
application is successful.
A report to the Otago Conservation Board this week said the
department had applied to the Nature Heritage Fund (NHF) to
buy the properties, which supported significant river terrace
and dryland vegetation and included threatened flora and
fauna, historic features and river access values.
In a subsequent statement to the Otago Daily Times,
Doc southern region communications adviser Andrea Crawford
said because the funding application process was still under
way and due to commercial sensitivity, the department could
not provide specific details on the parcels of land or their
Contact's trading, development and geothermal resources
project manager Neil Gillespie would not disclose any
information on the properties either, but said they were not
the properties by the Luggate Red Bridge where a community
river park had been proposed.
Contact is selling its remaining property holdings in the
Upper Clutha as a result of its decision not to proceed with
any further hydro-electric development in the area.
Mr Gillespie said about 10 of the 21 Upper Clutha properties
the power company owned had already sold and negotiations to
sell the remaining 11 were under way with various parties.
In July 2012, information obtained by the ODT from a
property sales database showed Contact had 147 individual
properties in Otago, covering 13,912.25ha, and valued at
Included were $432,450,000 for the Clyde Dam and $200,000,000
for the Lake Roxburgh village. The dams aside, the capital
value of Contact's Otago properties was $68,410,500.
The property was almost entirely between Luggate and
Beaumont, and a small amount in Dunedin.
Although figures from the database did not show what
improvements had been made to the land, most of the values at
the time of the 2012 article were considerably higher than
the ''gross purchase prices'' listed.
A 1.8ha property in Luggate bought in 1982 for $30,246 had
increased in value to $365,000, while the value of a 88.83ha
property at Mt Pisa bought in 1989 for $871,875 had risen to
The NHF is a contestable Ministerial fund that is
administered by an independent committee, serviced by Doc and
receives an annual allocation of funds from the Government.
Since it was established in 1990, it has protected more than
340,449ha of indigenous ecosystem through legal and physical
protection such as direct purchase, covenants or fencing.