KJet to put case again

Jet-boat company KJet intends to relodge its consent application to operate on a stretch of the Kawarau River, regardless of the Queenstown Lakes District Council's decision on the Navigation Safety Bylaw 2014.

Hearing chairman Lyal Cocks and panel members Ella Lawton and Craig Ferguson heard submissions on the Queenstown Lakes District Council's proposed bylaw in Wanaka on Monday and in Queenstown on Wednesday.

At Wednesday's hearing, KJet counsel Graeme Todd said the company applied for resource consent last year to extend its route, taking in a 1.4km section of the Kawarau River between the Arrow River confluence and the historic Kawarau bridge.

Simultaneously, it applied to the council for an exemption or amendment of the existing bylaw to give effect to the proposed operations.

However, due to council-caused confusion, the resource consent application was withdrawn earlier this month.

Mr Todd told the Otago Daily Times yesterday both applications were lodged on the same day, with the company seeking a joint hearing.

He said the council ''lost'' the second application and then obtained in-house legal advice stating it ''wasn't legally possible'' for the exemption to be granted.

''We argued it was.''

KJet then sought for the council to adjourn the resource consent hearing until the issues with the exemption application had been sorted out, but that was refused.

''There was no point proceeding with the resource consent hearing ... it [the application] was withdrawn earlier this month. It's extremely frustrating for the client ... and equally frustrating for other parties that have been involved as well.''

However, days after the application was withdrawn, external legal advice sought by the council confirmed an exemption could be granted.

At that point, the company decided to submit on the bylaw.

However, due to the process the council followed, only those ''fortunate enough'' to be party to the submissions learnt of KJet's suggested amendments.

''We have to play [by] the rules as the council sees fit, but it's unfortunate the way it was done.''

Mr Todd said if the bylaw was not amended as the company suggested, KJet intended to relodge its consent application and seek an exemption.

The council was unable to respond to an ODT request for comment by deadline.

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