The Queenstown Lakes District Council has approved an
exchange of land at Hawea Flat to create a public track, and
acknowledged the support of the farmers involved.
After a public hearing last week, a hearings panel
recommended the council approve an exchange of nearly 1.7ha
of the Hawea Domain recreation reserve with nearly 0.19ha of
private land owned by Laing Dairy so a track could be formed
between Camp Hill Rd and the domain.
Using road reserve had been considered in the past, but it
was not possible to form a safe track for walkers and
A hearing was held because farmers Bill and Cathy Allison
raised concerns about the inequity of the land exchange. The
Allisons lease part of the domain for grazing and believed a
''fairer swap'' should be negotiated.
The panel acknowledged the difference in the area being given
by the council to Laing Dairy and the area received for the
walkway, but said it was countered by the value of the
proposal to the community.
The recommendation to approve the land swap was subject to
conditions including that: one share in the Hawea Irrigation
Co be transferred from QLDC to Laing Dairy Ltd; Laing Dairy
provide a potable water supply to the domain; and a covenant
be registered on the new track title preventing the public
complaining about legitimate farm activities on the Laings'
During the public forum at Thursday's council meeting in
Wanaka, Wanaka Community Board chairwoman Rachel Brown gave a
''public statement of thanks'' to the Laings for agreeing to
enter into negotiations over the land swap.
Deputy mayor Lyal Cocks later endorsed her comments.
''We haven't had this opportunity in the past with private
landowners ... and we should acknowledge that he [Craig
Laing] has come to the table and enabled this negotiation and
this access, which is going to be of significant public
In approving the swap, the councillors amended the
recommendation to include their acknowledgement of the
landowners' support. The Minister of Conservation's approval
is still required for the land swap to proceed.