Navigation: no mistake

The Queenstown Lakes District Council yesterday stood by the version of the proposed navigation safety bylaw it put out for public comment.

Emails provided to the Otago Daily Times by the council on Thursday showed council staff, while preparing the draft bylaw, considered different versions of where 5-knot jet-boat speed limits on the Clutha River might be ''uplifted''.

However general manager legal and regulatory Scott Carran yesterday said the emails showed ''part of the process of developing the bylaw''.

''There were also conversations in person and by phone, which are not documented, which clarified the requirements.

''The bylaw which was notified reflects the totality of those discussions and what was approved by council for notification.''

Mr Carran said there was no mistake in the way the bylaw was drafted.

The draft bylaw proposes lifting the 5-knot speed restriction on the river between a point 2km below the lake outlet and the Red Bridge at Luggate, allowing jet-boats to operate at their normal speed until 10pm during daylight saving, rather than 6pm, as at present.

Fishing groups, at a hearing on Monday, opposed any uplifting.

Mr Carran said the proposed change to the speed restrictions ''was viewed by the harbourmaster and council staff as a practical response to the use of the river each summer.

''It was included in the proposed bylaw to enable it to be considered by the public, which is precisely what has occurred.''

He also took issue with comments from Otago Fish and Game Council environmental officer Peter Wilson, who said he suspected the bylaw change followed pressure from jet-boat operators.

Mr Carran said this was ''completely unfounded''.

• Mr Carran pointed out the second paragraph of the ODT's story on Friday incorrectly referred to the downstream termination point for the uplifting of the speed limit to be ''3km below the Luggate Red Bridge''.

''That is not what was notified - in fact the Luggate bridge is the proposed terminating point of the uplifted speed limit,'' Mr Carran said.

The proposed bylaw clause was quoted fully elsewhere in the story.

mark.price@odt.co.nz