Changes on way for Clutha River users

Pictured: From December 1, the operation of powered vessels on the Upper Clutha will be restricted. Photo: Wanaka Sun

Recreational powered vessels will no longer be allowed on the Clutha River between the Outlet Camping Ground and the Albert Town Bridge from December 1 to April 30.

For the rest of the year, any powered vessel operating on this stretch of the river is subject to a 5 knot speed limit, outside of the timed uplifting (10am to 6pm).

Earlier this year, a special consultative procedure was undertaken regarding a proposed amendment to the clauses within the Bylaw that regulates vessels using the Clutha River. The Navigation Safety Hearings Panel (Hearings Panel) received 651 submissions, with 342 in favour and 309 against the proposed amendment. In October, the Hearings Panel heard from 20 submitters in relation to the proposed amendment.

Following deliberations, the Hearings Panel recommended the adoption of the proposed amendment to the Bylaw subject to some modifications. These include: extending the proposed prohibition on recreational powered vessels operating in the Upper Clutha by one month from December 1 to April 30; removing the proposed restrictions on commercial powered vessels operating in the Upper Clutha under a resource consent between January 15 and February 1; and inserting a list of expressly permitted activities on the Clutha River in the Queenstown Lakes Proposed District Plan.

The Hearings Panel also recommended greater resources be invested into monitoring, enforcement, and data gathering in relation to the use of the Clutha River, safety issues, and nuisances arising from that usage.

An extraordinary meeting, requisitioned by Queenstown Lakes District Council Mayor Jim Boult, was held on Tuesday, November 20 to consider the recommendations. On the motion of Councillors MacLeod and McDonald, it was resolved that council adopt the recommendation of the Hearings Panel to amend the Navigation Safety Bylaw 2018 to take effect on December 1.

Council will now be required to develop educational materials for Clutha Rivers users, including improved signage.



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