Gordon Rayner of Central Otago Whitewater reports that around 100 kayakers and rafters attend the protest paddle, meeting at the Dogleg put-in with the Kawarau River running at 180 cumecs. "Do Little and Dogleg rapids were going off," Gordon said.
The protest was against Kawarau Jet and their on-again off-again efforts to obtain consent to operate commercial jet boats on the Kawarau river from the Arrow river confluence to the Bungee Bridge, a distance of approximately 1.5 kilometres. Kawarau Jet lodged applications for resource consent in 2014 and 2015.
In 2014 the QLDC navigation bylaw which specifically prohibits powered craft downstream of the Arrow river confluence was reviewed, and submissions were given at a hearing by Kawarau Jet, the kayaking and rafting interests. The Council upheld the bylaw and Kawarau jet withdrew their resource consent application.
In 2015 Kawarau Jet lodged the resource consent application again and filed a request with QLDC to make an application for Kawarau Jet to be exempt from the bylaw. That request was due to be heard at a QLDC Council meeting in Queenstown this Thursday 26 November and the kayaking protest was scheduled.
Gordon was advised on Friday 20 November that Kawarau Jet had recently changed lawyers and earlier this week the Council received correspondence to advise that the applicant ‘does not wish to have its exemption application considered formally by the Council until it has provided further information to assist that decision’. Accordingly the Council has advised that the bylaw exemption application by Kawarau Jet has been taken off the agenda for next Thursday's Council meeting.
Read more about the Kawarau river jetboat issue.