Possible boat ban draws big reaction

A ban on motorised boating on Lake Pukaki, at least in the southern end to preserve views of Mt Cook, appears likely.

The Mackenzie District Council's district plan review began with a proposal, plan change 19, which would prohibit both commercial and recreational boating on the roughly 180sq km South Canterbury lake.

The plan change, proposing to change motorised boating from a permitted to a prohibited activity ``to protect the unique natural quiet, beauty and tranquility values'' of the lake, drew 165 submissions in the first round of public submissions last month and is now out for its second round of consultation.

There was ``quite a lot of feedback'' before notification of the plan change, so the number of submissions was not surprising, council regulations group manager Karina Morrow said. It appeared the public was ``quite divided in terms of what people want to see on the lake''.

Submissions expressed ``pretty strong views either way''.

``That's a pretty big jump from permitted to saying you can't even apply for consent for it,'' Mrs Morrow said.

Mackenzie Mayor Graham Smith said the council ``would like to protect the southern end of the viewing corridor of Mt Cook, without commercial operations in that area''.

While the council had proposed a ``prohibited status'', it expected the public to want to have its say on the future use of the lake.

``If we had not done anything, I think we would have received a lot of submissions saying we should do something,'' Mr Smith said.

``I think, to be absolutely honest, there's room for both considerations to take part on that lake - both protect it, protect its beauty, and also have some boating activity.''

The ``huge lake'' could allow for ``some lanes up the side and the top end of the lake will still be able to be operated''.

But protecting the southern end of the lake and the view of Mt Cook from State Highway 8 without commercial operations in the area appeared to be a priority as traffic and tourism in the Mackenzie district continued to increase.

Mrs Morrow said a public hearing before an independent panel would probably be held in the next few months.

``The plan change covers all of our lakes and rivers, but we seem to have got a lot of feedback on Pukaki in particular,'' she said.

Motorised boating is permitted on nearby Lake Tekapo at present.

New rules could come into effect before the end of the year.



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