Rab­bit Is­land sport re­quest de­clined

The Leader (Tasman) - - NEWS - By HE­LEN MUR­DOCH

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.

LLB BA

Photo: PA­TRICK HAMIL­TON

Wa­ter course: An ap­pli­ca­tion to change the forestry des­ig­na­tion of Rab­bit Is­land has been de­clined.

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