Rabbit Island sport request declined
The council has declined a request from the Tasman Aquatic Multisport Development Trust that it commit to legally changing the forestry designation of 115 hectares of Rabbit Island so it can be used for recreation.
Sport Tasman chief executive Nigel Muir told councillors attending last week’s full council meeting the concept was a 10- to 20-year vision.
The trust’s earlier application to construct a $6 million 2.5km long, 135m wide and 3.5m deep eight-lane course at the western end of Rabbit Island was included in the district’s 2009-2019 10-year plan.
It was dropped from the current long-term plan because it was not considered affordable to the community.
Nigel said the trust recognised there were barriers to the development, including the loss of the forest’s value and the carbon credit cost of deforestation, together estimated to be $3.2m, and there was not a strong appetite in the community for the project.
However the trust now asked the council keep the option for the island’s future development alive by considering a legislative change to the forest’s designation to allow more sporting activities.
It was prepared to bankroll the $25,000 it estimated it would cost the council to put progress the necessary bill through parliament, he said.
Council strategic development manager Susan Edwards said $25,000 was a huge underestimation of the cost of progressing such a bill.
A staff report to councillors said the forestry in question was used for bio-solids dispersal through the Nelson Regional Sewerage Business unit.
Reducing the area of available dispersal land would come at the cost to the council and not leave enough land to meet the demands from population growth.
Councillors asked staff to report on the legal process of changing the forest’s designation.
Water course: An application to change the forestry designation of Rabbit Island has been declined.