Jet-boat rules near Albert Town to be decided today

More scenes like this are likely if amendments to a Queenstown Lakes District Council bylaw are adopted at a hearing. Photo: Sean Nugent
More scenes like this are likely if amendments to a Queenstown Lakes District Council bylaw are adopted at a hearing. Photo: Sean Nugent
A proposed amendment to the Queenstown Lakes District Council's navigation safety bylaw, which would see heavy restrictions placed on jet-boats using the Clutha River near Albert Town, is likely to be adopted at a hearing in Wanaka today.

The amendment would prohibit powered vessels from operating between the Outlet and the Albert Town Bridge between December 1 and March 31 without an existing consent.

Even those with an existing consent would only be able to have up to two daily trips between 10am and noon from January 15 to February 1.

For the rest of the year powered vessels travelling on that stretch of river would be subject to a 5-knot speed limit outside the hours of 10am-6pm.

The council publicly notified the proposed changes at the end of July, and received 651 submissions - 342 in favour and 309 against - although only 133 of those opposed believed there was no need for any change.

QLDC regulatory manager Lee Webster has recommended adopting the changes in his report put forward to the hearing panel of councillors Calum MacLeod, Jane MacDonald and Penny Clark.

''The proposed amendment to the bylaw will provide greater protection from the risks of collision between powered vessel users and the growing volume of passive users of the Upper Clutha River during the summer months,'' the report said.

''Council staff consider the proposed amendment is an appropriate and proportionate response to the community's concerns about the navigation safety risks in the Upper Clutha River.''

About 35 submitters are expected to make an oral submission before the panel at today's hearing, which begins at 10am.

If the panel decides to adopt the amendment, it is expected to be enforced in time for the upcoming summer.

sean.nugent@odt.co.nz

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