Kaituna River jet boat speed approved
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 10:00 a.m.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council has given approval for the commercial jet boat operation to continue on the Kaituna River above where it meets the Mangorewa.
Aerius Limited had applied to the Council to remove the speed limit over the stretch of the river it operated on.
Commercial jet boating has been a point of contention with landowners, and the focus of numerous investigations and reports since jet boating began in the 1980s. Those opposed were concerned about the safety of other river users, jet boat speed and river bank erosion.
Several investigations were completed to assess the impact the jet boat operation was having on river bank erosion, and found that while jet boating was contributing to erosion, it was not considered to be the major cause.
A panel of commissioners heard public submissions for and against the application and made a recommendation to the Regional Council. The panel concluded that granting the speed uplifting would not unacceptably increase the risk to navigation safety or endanger persons using the water, which is the test required by legislation.
The Regional Council has agreed to remove the five knot speed limit from the confluence of the Mangorewa River to the first set of rapids 12.5 km upstream, subject to conditions. The speed limit removal applies only to commercial operators, provided they hold a resource consent from Western Bay of Plenty District Council, and only between 9am and 5pm.
The five knot still applies 50 metres either side of the Maungarangi Road bridge where people swim, and on the first Sunday of each month to allow others to use the river without the jet boat operating.
Regional Council Maritime Operations Manager Reuben Fraser said the decision reflected a compromise to allow the jet boat to continue to operate, but with conditions to make the river available for other people to use more safely.
“The river is available for public use at all times, but people should be aware of the area and times the jet boat operates and make contact with the operator before entering that stretch of river,” he said.
The company can be contacted on 0800 867 386 (0800 TOP FUN).