The Queenstown Lakes District Council has been criticised for
an apparent lack of disclosure over a jet-boat company's
plans to extend its operations.
Yesterday, the Navigation Safety Bylaw 2014 hearing resumed
However, submitters called for the bylaw to be renotified by
the council after Kawarau Jet Services Holdings Ltd,
operating as KJet, asked to amend the bylaw, enabling
commercial boating operations on the Kawarau River, below the
confluence with the Arrow River, where the bylaw forbids
powered vessels to run.
Whitewater New Zealand conservation officer Doug Rankin said
the process had been unfair and if the council was to make a
''sweeping change'' to the bylaw - primarily focused on
safety - due process should be followed.
He contended there was no notification of KJet's proposed
Queenstown Rafting managing director Vance Boyd said to alter
the bylaw in the manner suggested by KJet would ''open up a
very large can of warms''.
At present, that section of the river was exclusively for
non-powered users, like kayakers and whitewater rafters.
Mr Boyd said about 30 people had submitted on the issue of
the commercial application, but had it been notified it was
likely many more would have taken the opportunity.
Council regulatory general manager Lee Webster told the
hearings panel if it was minded to amend the bylaw, it would
be a ''major change'' and the council would need to reconsult
on KJet's proposal.
However, Graeme Todd, counsel for KJet, disagreed, saying
there was no need to consult again.
Council chief executive Adam Feeley, who had not been part of
the hearing, said if the panel thought it was necessary to
re-notify the bylaw, ''then absolutely that can and will be
The panel adjourned last night.