Counter to the trend of recent cancellations of hydro projects, Westpower has reactivated plans to develop hydro on the Waitaha River. The scheme was first announced in 2007. WestPower is holding public information days: 3.30 - 7.30pm, Tuesday 12th June, Harihari Motor Inn, Main Road, Harihari. 3.30 - 7.30pm, Wednesday 13th June, St John Station, 134 Stafford Street, Hokitika.
The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr. Jan Wright has issued a report "Hydroelectricity or wild rivers? Climate change versus natural heritage" (PDF, 5MB) highlighting the weaknesses of the current options for preserving wild and scenic rivers. The report criticises the recent National Policy Statements for Renewable Electricity Generation and Freshwater Management: "Where the two NPSs may have counterbalanced each other, instead they favour developing hydroelectricity. The NPS on Renewable Electricity Generation does not sufficiently recognise the irreversible damage of some renewable electricity proposals. And the NPS on Freshwater Management does not explicitly recognise the value of preserving wild and scenic rivers" (p68).
Meridian announced today that they are no longer pursuing a dam on the wild and scenic Mōkihinui River citing concerns over their ability to secure resource consents and approval to inundate conservation land. The proposed 80m dam would have inundated an entire class III-IV section from Mōkihinui Forks down to Seddonville. It would effectively eliminate the upstream class IV-V section from the Johnson-Allan confluence by replacing the lower run with a 14km lake. Whitewater NZ had appealed the resource consents to the Environment Court along with Department of Conservation, Forest & Bird, and West Coast Environmental Network Trust.
In a Whitewater NZ media release, Conservation Officer Tony Ward-Holmes said, "This decision has meant that the Mokihinui will remain a pristine river valley, providing outstanding wilderness kayaking and rafting opportunities."
Contact Energy has announced that it won't be proceeding with proposed hydro development options for Luggate (25m, 86MW), Queensberry (14m, 160MW), Beaumont (30m, 185MW) and Tuapeka Mouth (50m, 350MW).
Whitewater NZ Access Officer Matt Bennett has been following up on the Aratiatia situation and provides the following update:
Last month a group of kayakers including Ben Brown and other Red Bull athletes were unable to kayak at Aratiatia. The group initially paddled the lower section of the Aratiatia rapids on the Waikato River. It was a warm up run and their intention was to scout the full rapid and paddle it on the next release.
Josh Neilson (Southern Underground Productions) is touring his latest extreme sport documentary Transcendance featuring Mike Abbott (whitewater kayaker), William Trubridge (freediver), Vanessa Quin (downhill mountain biker), Jokke Somer (wingsuit base jumper). This documentary offers an insight into the extreme sports experience backed by the research of Dr Eric Brymer.
Hugh Canard has passed on a warning regarding a steel cable hazard (incl. photos) on the Granity Creek section of the Buller River: There is a steel cable in the top of the first class III rapid above Granity Creek rapid. This is the rapid that pushes right against the bank and has large boulders in the flow. The cable may be attached to a concrete block.
It's time for NZ Canoeing 12.1 with articles such as Whitewater New Zealand News, Safety Course Subsidy, Women on Whitewater (Kylie Laxton-Blinkhorn), Conservation Update (Tony Ward-Holmes), NZKS turns 20! (Sarah Fawcett), ￼Mōkihinui, Mōkihinui, Mōkihinui, Mōkihinui, Eh (Mick Hopkinson), How good is your rescue kit and techniques? Part 2 (Matt Barker), Wairehu Playhole (Matt Bennett), Releases and Events.
Ben Brown reports that yesterday police prevented a group of kayakers from running the Aratiatia rapid on the Waikato river. The Police are presumably enforcing clause 3.9.1(d) in the Waikato Regional Council Navigation Safety Bylaw (PDF, 1.3MB) that states, "Not operate any vessels (other than for maintenance purposes) within 200 metres of the Taupo gates and hydro dam structures on the Waikato River." (PDF, 1.3MB). This rule has not been enforced on kayakers on Aratiatia before now and the rapid has been increasingly paddled since the first descent in 1998. Kayakers intending to descend Aratiatia can try submitting a "Bylaw exemption application form" to obtain an exemption from clause 3.9.1(d). Note the $125.00 fee.
The NZ Conservation Authority (NZCA) released a report late in 2011 entitled Protecting New Zealand’s Rivers. The full report is available on the Department of Conservation website, www.doc.govt.nz and is well worth a read. The NZCA is an appointed representative body whose role is to advise the Minister of Conservation and the Director-General of Conservation.
River Safety and River Rescue Course subsidies of $100 are available to Whitewater NZ members, thanks to the generous support of Water Safety NZ. You can join a course organised by the NZ Kayak School or contact any NZOIA kayak level 2 instructor to run a course for you. Read Course details and subsidy forms. These courses have great content; if you have never taken one there's no time like the present!
Cumec Magazine Issue number 15 is out now and available through kayak and bookstores across NZ and Australia. Inside you'll find features on paddling in the Northeast of Turkey, the Devils Postpile in California, the Teva Lea Race, BlissFest 2011, an interview with Tanya Faux, gear reviews, event reports, and heaps more. Check it out this holiday break, and get inspired to hit the water.
Whitewater NZ held its Annual General Meeting for 2011 in Turangi on 17 September. Most of the current Executive Committee were relected to their current positions. Thanks to outgoing officers Matt Barker (Education), Nick Clendon and Dave Annear (Safety). Welcome to Matt Bennet (Access) and Evan Freshwater (Safety). Doug Rankin was voted Canoeist of the Year.
A temporary "reservation" of a portion of the Wairoa River, Nelson, has been granted for tree-felling and overhead cable recovery of the logs across the river. All activities including but not limited to swimming, wading, angling, or boating of any kind not directly associated with the logging will be prohibited.
The temporary reservation applies between 05:30 and 16:00 on any weekday between Monday 14 November and Friday 2 December 2011. There are no restrictions on public access on any Saturday or Sunday.
Unfortunately, Genesis Energy have advised that the recreational releases scheduled for this weekend (Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th November) from Whakamarino and Piripaua have been cancelled due to health and safety reasons.
The broken bridge in the river, which is currently posing a significant hazard to kayakers, is expected to be removed soon.
The latest NZ Canoeing 11.2 has been sent to members, with articles on Simon Davidson (Matt Burton, Tyler Fox, Louise Urwin, Josh Neilson), Mokau victory! (Terry Lasenby), Whitewater Grand Prix (Louise Urwin), Conservation News (Tony Ward-Holme), Releases and Events, How good is your rescue kit and techniques? Part 1 (Matt Barker). Grab NZ Canoeing 11.2 (PDF, 3.5Mb) here or via your club.