Mackenzie Guardians are pleased with last week’s Environment Court consent decision for Five Rivers Ltd in relation to an irrigation proposal for Ohau Downs Station. The original application by Five Rivers Ltd was declined.
On 14 Feb 2012 Mackenzie Guardians joined an appeal of a revised application by Five Rivers Ltd to take and use water from Lake Ohau to spray irrigate up to 1493ha of crops and pasture at Ohau Downs Station. In June 2013 Mackenzie Guardians sat round the table with several other parties to work out a mediated solution. After several mediation sessions and site visits Mackenzie Guardians are satisfied that major gains will be achieved for the environment, without going to Court. In fact we believe the process could be used as a model for resolving similar large applications.
Well known landscape architect Di Lucas was engaged by Mackenzie Guardians Inc. to mediate for the Society and we thank her sincerely for her efforts on behalf of members and supporters, and for present and future generations of New Zealanders. This is a significant decision.
Other parties to the decision are Royal Forest and Bird, Central SI Fish and Game, QEII Trust, Dept. of Conservation, Ohau Snow Holdings Ltd, Meridian, Te Runanga O Arowhenua, Te Runanga O Moeraki, Te Runanga O Ngai Tahu and Te Runanga O Waihao.
The following are some of the key points of the consent:
A significant area of Mackenzie landscape will be protected in perpetuity by an Open Space Covenant on the north of the Lake Ohau Road. Currently 1,185 ha of land adjacent to Lake Ohau are protected under QEII Trust. The new consent agreement comprises an additional Open Space Covenant comprising 1663ha of moraine and outwash plain, and an Open Space Covenant area south of the Lake Ohau Road comprising 251ha.
A Tussock Rejuvenation Area of 327ha located either side of Lake Ohau Road. This area will be managed to retain natural character and encourage the natural rejuvenation of the tussock, includes no cultivation, pasture sowing or top dressing and will provide a corridor of open space protecting views to Ben Ohau and the Ohau Range.
Vegetated riparian buffer strips of 50ms will be maintained adjacent to all waterways, with a minimum width of 40m planted with indigenous species.
A reduced dairy proposal starting with 280 cows in the first year and by year 6 two dairy farm barn units will milk up to 1400 cows each.
Dairy barns to be located a minimum of 1.6 km south of the Lake Ohau Road. The barns will be sited low in the landscape and vegetation planted to help screen built structures. No discharges to land.
Stringent conditions to monitor and protect water quality in ground water, springs, streams, tarns, lakes and wetlands on the property.
Read the Full Consent Order