Existing lake structures
Existing lake structures are those which existed prior to the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Act 2006 and remain unchanged. There are numerous existing structures sitting in, on, under or over Rotorua’s lakes. You need a current consent for these structures and to protect the environment, you cannot make changes to the footprint or carry out maintenance without applying for a new consent or notifying the Regional Council prior.
To transfer a resource consent to another party, please complete a Resource Consent Transfer Form.
Please note that this definition differs from that in our RMA and Building Charges Policy which states that when re-consenting existing unchanged lake structures – the $775 application deposit fee applies to all previously consented, unchanged lake structures whether or not they existed prior to the 2006 Te Arawa Lakebed Settlement.
Renewing my lake structure consent
Many resource consents for lake structures in the Te Arawa Rotorua Lakes area are due to expire by December 2020. If no changes are being made to the footprint of the structure, consent holders can apply for a new consent. To make the replacement consent process as easy as possible for consent holders, we are simplifying and streamlining it on behalf of the Te Arawa Lakes Trust, Rotorua Lakes Council, Department of Conservation (DOC) and Land Information New Zealand.
We are sending packs to lake structure consent holders in batches, lake by lake, based on consent expiry date. The packs outline the replacement consent process, what needs to happen by when and include the relevant forms. These forms need to be returned to the Regional Council within six weeks of receiving them.
Applying for a replacement consent
To simplify the replacement consent process, we are sending out customised information packs to consent holders. Separate lease forms will also be included in these packs on behalf of lake/lakebed owners and managers for the occupation of your structure on land they own and manage.
Consent holders would normally need to apply for a replacement consent before their current consent expires. Because the replacement consent process for lake structures is being streamlined, and consents are being managed in batches, there is more flexibility. Instead consent holders must return the relevant forms within six weeks of receiving them.
Lake Structures built post the 2006 Te Arawa Lakebed Settlement, unconsented lake structures, lake structure extensions or removal of vegetation (in conjunction with maintenance) all require a new consent and are not included in the streamlined process.
Existing unconsented retaining and protection walls are an exception, and you can apply for consent for these if you are already going through the replacement consent process for other structures. It’s best to apply for these at the same time so that you will not need to individually approach the various affected parties or initiate a cultural effects assessment.
Why resource consent is needed
Resource consents allow people or organisations to do something that could impact our environment. Structures (existing or new) that sit in, on, under or over the bed of the lake are identified as having an environmental effect in sections 9 and 13 of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA). Managing these structures through the resource consent process helps ensure the number of structures is limited, they are kept to a safe standard and any environmental impacts are kept to a minimum.
While a resource consent provides for the use of a structure, under the RMA, your structure(s) also occupies land or lake bed/and/or the water column which requires permission from the landowner or land manager. Therefore, in addition to obtaining a resource consent, all consent holders are required to sign a contract with the relevant landowner/manager. Lease forms for the relevant lake/lakebed owners have been included in the information packs.
As set out in the RMA, to fully understand the potential effects of a proposed activity on people and the environment, an assessment of cultural effects must be undertaken. To streamline this process for local iwi, Regional Council has commissioned a report from the Te Arawa Lakes Trust on behalf of applicants to inform the consent process. As reports are finalised, they are uploaded online. To access the completed reports please scroll to the downloads section at the bottom of this page.
Multiple structures on single consent
If you currently hold several consents for lake structures in the same location, you can take this opportunity to condense them into a single consent. On the application form please identify which structures you wish to condense into the one consent.
Where applicants have a share (for example, half or a quarter) in a lake structure, they will be required to nominate a contact person and share correspondence with the structure’s other consent holders or owners. They will also be required to manage payment for the costs associated with the administration, monitoring and supervision of the consent.
Unconsented existing retaining and protection walls
If you are applying for a new consent for your existing retaining and/or protection wall, as part of the replacement consent process, like any new application you will need an engineering report. This report must include dimensions, materials, a structural assessment and cover any environmental effects.
An assessment of environmental effects is a key component of a resource consent application. By applying for this new consent as part of the replacement consent process, your new application may ‘piggy back’ off the blanket assessments already obtained.
The Unconsented Existing Retaining and Erosion Protection Walls application form and information on Applying for consent for existing retaining and erosion protection walls can be found on our Consent forms page under the heading "Construct a culvert or bridge, other instream works, lake structures".
A list of Rotorua based consultants including engineers can be found here.
Will I need to sign and return several leases, Agreements for Occupation or Right to Occupy documents?
Yes, in some cases you may require a lease, Agreement for Occupation (AFO) or Right to Occupy from several different parties. For example, if your lake structure crosses the DOC marginal strip and LINZ boundary and was installed prior to the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement Act (2006) you would require a joint AFO from both DOC and LINZ.
Please note: To simplify this process the Regional Council has a Transfer Agreement with Rotorua District Council which means that the Regional Council assess resource consent applications under both the District Plan and the Regional Plan for most lake structures.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council is the primary contact for lake structure resource consenting queries. If you have general queries regarding your application for resource consent please contact the Consents Duty Officer on 0800 884 880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lake structures are currently inspected on a 10-yearly basis and consent holders will receive one charge at this time. All charges are on an actual and reasonable basis including those arising from a complaint or compliance issue.
Te Arawa Lakes Trust
Lakes Rotorua, Rotoiti, Ōkāreka and Tarawera are some of the Lakes owned by Te Arawa Lakes Trust (TALT). If your retaining wall is unchanged and existed prior to the lakebed settlement (24 October 2006) there is no need to obtain separate affected parties’ consent from TALT.
If you have erected or changed your structure without lakebed owner approval and resource consent post the Te Arawa Lakebed Settlement (24 October 2006), you need to contact Council to discuss the way forward.
Department of Conservation
The Department of Conservation (DOC) has provided blanket affected parties approval for all lake structures which existed prior to the Te Arawa Lakebed settlement (24 October 2006). This is with the condition that structures retain the existing footprint and any maintenance works be undertaken outside of the bird breeding season (1 September – 24 December).
Landowner approval is a different process to an affected party’s approval. For more information on this process, please contact ; Community Team Supervisor on email@example.com or 07 349 7400.
Rotorua Lakes Council
A blanket affected parties approval has been provided by Rotorua Lakes Council for all previously consented, non-commercial, unchanged lake structures that existed prior to the Te Arawa Lakebed Settlement.
The Council’s 'Right to Occupy' will be issued in conjunction with the resource consent for any Lake structures located within the Council’s lake/land parcels that existed prior to the Te Arawa Lakebed Settlement.
Land Information New Zealand
Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has provided Council with blanket affected parties approval for all lake structures that existed prior to the Te Arawa Lakes Settlement; therefore, there is no need to obtain separate affected parties consent from LINZ.
If the existing structure is situated within the Crown Stratum (water and air space) and a resource consent is approved, LINZ (as the administering department) will issue a lease in the name of the resource consent holder.
Fish and Game New Zealand
Fish & Game has provided blanket approval for unchanged ‘Retaining Walls’ that were pre-existing prior to the Te Arawa Lakebed Settlement (24 October 2006), provided the retaining walls are structurally sound and fit for purpose with an accompanying engineering report.
They have also provided blanket approval for all previously consented structures.
Term of renewed consents
Resource consents will generally be granted for a term of 30 years. Contracts between consent holders and landowner/administers will be granted for a period of 10 years and will require renewal throughout the consent term duration.
Replacement consent costs
A deposit of $775 (GST inclusive) is required with all resource consent applications. All communications beyond the first hour, and officers processing time, is charged at $160/hour (GST inclusive). To avoid unnecessary charges, we encourage applicants to thoroughly read the website prior to making contact. Total costs are determined once the consents are processed, but applications that do not raise specific issues are not expected to exceed $1500 per application (Please note the $1500 does not apply to existing, unconsented lake structures such as retaining walls which will incur additional processing costs because they were not previously consented).
Fixed versus natural boundaries
Most of Rotorua's lakeside properties have natural boundaries rather than fixed boundaries, which are straight lines between points or pegs established by surveys.
Natural boundaries are defined by ground features such as the banks of rivers, lakes and tidal waters. A natural boundary means that when accretion (land has gradually accumulated) or erosion take place the landowner may become entitled to more or less land than that originally comprised in their title.
This means that the land title register and plans which support it do not control the extent of the parcel on the ground, it is the moving boundary which controls the extent of the parcel at any given point in time.
For example, if land area is reduced due to water erosion it becomes part of the lakebed/stratum, then it will become property of TALT/LINZ.
Where there is an esplanade reserve between the property parcel and the lake, because of the moveable boundary, the lake structure now occupies lakebed owned by TALT and water stratum owned by the crown. Therefore a ‘Right to occupy’ from Rotorua Lakes Council may not be required and lake structure owners will instead need to apply for a lease from LINZ.
Lake Rotoiti Level Control Trial
For information on the Lake Rotoiti water level control trial, please visit the Lake Rotoiti page.