Irrigation consent sought for property in environmental dispute

Consent has been sought to irrigate the Hawea Flat property that was the subject of a recent Environment Court dispute between the farming and conservation communities.

Zeva Holdings Ltd has applied to the Queenstown Lakes District Council to construct four centre pivot irrigators covering about 176ha of land next to the Clutha River, north of the Luggate Bridge.

The Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society of New Zealand obtained an Environment Court interim order against Zeva Holdings director Dougal Innes in March, temporarily preventing him from further clearance and discing work on his land.

That order was subsequently cancelled by the court and Mr Innes was free to proceed with cultivation, despite Forest and Bird's concerns about the potential loss of important indigenous vegetation on the site.

Mr Innes' consent application outlines several measures to mitigate his irrigation system's adverse effects outside the site, including a maximum pivot tower height of 4.5m, no lights on the top of the pivots' base, having the pivots parked away from the boundary when not in use and preventing water from being applied to a neighbouring property.

A bore consent has already been granted and a water take consent application is under way.

The owners of the 1800ha farm neighbouring Mr Innes' property have lodged another consent application for their dairying operations.

Devon Dairy Farms director Jim Cooper wants approval to excavate a 35,000cu m irrigation water storage pond beside an existing pond, which would be gravity-fed by an existing water race.

The 3m-deep pond is expected to take up to two years to excavate and cover 1.645ha.

Recent resource consent applications from the Upper Clutha high country farming fraternity include Jerry Bell's proposal to create four lots with building platforms at Criffel Station and to relocate an existing farm cottage; Glendhu Holdings Ltd's plans to hold events in the Glendhu Station woolshed; and the intention to subdivide Lake Hawea's Glen Dene Station into two separate stations.

Also in the latest round of consent applications received by the council was Roys Peninsula landowner Andrew Grant's proposed 10km of tracks on his property for walking and pest control purposes and a 270sq m extension of the Wanaka Lakes Health Centre building on Cardrona Valley Rd

lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz