Henry van Asch
Kayak and canoe groups are calling on the Queenstown
Lakes District Council to reject a proposal from jet-boat
operator KJet to allow it to take commercial jet-boats between
the Arrow confluence and the Kawarau suspension bridge.
A total of 17 submissions on the proposal were received - all
but one opposed.
Outdoor education and kayaking teacher at Wakatipu High
School Ken McIntyre said allowing jet-boats in the area would
put pupils at risk of collision with a jet-boat.
In his submission, Mr McIntyre said kayaking is an important
part of the school's outdoor activity programme.
Pupils who kayaked on the Kawarau River from the Arrow
confluence to Gibbston often referred to it ''as the
highlight of their time in the programme''.
He said he was particularly concerned about the risk of
collision at the Smiths Falls rapid and the section of river
above, because of the higher risk of capsizing.
A submission from Central Otago Whitewater Inc, whose
submission was supported by other groups, said the Kawarau
Gorge was popular with kayakers from both throughout New
Zealand and from overseas.
The submission said the safety measures proposed by KJet,
such as having signs, cameras and spotters, would not
adequately mitigate the risk posed to kayakers.
Ultimately, ''jet-boats and kayakers cannot coexist safely''.
KJet's claim that the river bed near the Smiths Falls rapid
was altered in a flood in 1999, making it able to be safely
navigated by jet-boats, was rejected by Central Otago
A submission from Bruce Conway, of Invercargill, said he had
whitewater kayaking experience in rivers around New Zealand.
Mr Conway said ''too often'' he had seen dangerous driving
from commercial jet-boats in Queenstown.
He said kayakers ''doing normal paddling manoeuvres'' on the
river might not be visible to a jet-boat driver or they could
easily ''suddenly appear from behind a rock wall''.
AJ Hackett Bungy co-founder Henry van Asch last year told the
Otago Daily Times he supported the proposed route extension.
He was commenting specifically on the proposal and said it
''could push Gibbston over the edge'' and help the area over
Submissions in opposition were received from the Southland
Canoe Club, Otago University Canoe Club, Hutt Valley Canoe
Club (in the North Island), University of Canterbury Canoe
Club, Queenstown Rafting, Chard Farm, Wakatipu White Water,
Whitewater NZ Inc, Otago Canoe and Kayak Club, Gary Reynolds,
Riversurfing Ltd, Whitewater Canoe Club and Quentin Smith.
Fish and Game is neutral for the water activity and approval
of the jetty KJet wants to build near the Kawarau Bungy