Include Wild Rivers Reasons in my Submissions
Wild Rivers Reasons
I oppose and object to the Minister of Conservation’s intention to grant a concession to Westpower Ltd. to construct and operate a hydro scheme on the Waitaha River. I request that the Minister of Conservation decline the application because: <br><br>Granting of the concessions is directly in conflict with the purpose of the Conservation Act and the DoC West Coast Conservation Management Strategy. Furthermore, the proposed scheme is contrary to the intent of use of stewardship land. <br><br>The Morgan Gorge, a spectacular and dominating schist gorge separating the front country from the back country on the Waitaha River, is an outstanding natural feature in an outstanding natural landscape worthy of preservation and protection in its own right for the benefit of all of New Zealand. <br><br>The Waitaha River is a pristine riparian environment with outstanding wilderness and scenic values and is an exceptional Wild and Scenic river. Fragile ecosystems which include several species of threatened native flora and fauna would be permanently destroyed if this proposal is implemented. Westpower Ltd. has not adequately assessed the presence of these highly threatened species and have not given any assurance that the impacts on them can be properly avoided or mitigated. <br><br>The upper catchment of the Waitaha is highly valued for its sense of remoteness by trampers and hunters alike and is considered to be of international significance for kayakers. The development and dewatering of Morgan Gorge would ruin the mauri and mana of this magnificent wilderness taonga for current and future generations of New Zealanders and visitors from overseas. <br><br>The construction of an intake weir and adjacent access tunnel portal will be significant and contribute an unacceptable industrial intrusion into an otherwise pristine landscape on public conservation land. The proposal will have an irrevocable impact on the high natural values of this wild river. <br><br>The mitigation proposed by Westpower Ltd. cannot expiate for impacts of the intrusion of manmade structures and drastically reduced river flows on this wilderness landscape. Fundamental alteration of an outstanding wild and remote experience in the upper Waitaha to what will become a significantly modified and ‘industrialised’ environment is unacceptable and the application untenable. <br><br>An independent electricity industry expert has determined that power from the proposal is not needed for many years. There is no significant demand for extra power on the West Coast, and the National Grid has recently been upgraded to meet any foreseeable increased power demand on the West Coast. <br><br>Other more viable, likely cheaper, less destructive alternatives exist for power generation on the West Coast. Previously consented hydro proposals including schemes on the Arnold River and at Stockton are available to develop. There is no justification for the destruction of such an outstanding natural wilderness feature within public conservation estate on power supply grounds. <br><br>Under the Conservation Act section 17U, the Minister of Conservation can only give permission to build and operate a hydroelectric scheme on the conservation estate if it: <br>1 Would not compromise the purposes for which the land is held <br>2 Could not reasonably be done elsewhere, including in another conservation area where the effects would be less significant. <br><br>As outlined above, this proposal directly compromises any conservation values of this land. Furthermore, the range of real and viable alternatives to this proposed hydroelectric development is very broad as all power stations across the country are connected through the national grid. <br><br>The decision to grant the concessions in principle should be reversed for many reasons, including a number mentioned above, and the application for concession declined.
My Own Comments
I wish to be heard in support of my submission
Submit to Hon Maggie Barry, Minister for Conservation
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