Date: 23 November 2009
Any application to build an access road to the proposed Milford Sound tunnel will be considered by the Department of Conservation (DOC) through the normal concessions process.
Otago Conservator Marian van der Goes said that did not mean the department approved of the proposal to build an access road in Mount Aspiring National Park.
“We receive applications to carry out all sorts of activities on DOC land, and any application for any new road in Mount Aspiring National Park will be considered in the same way as any other concession application,” Ms van der Goes said.
A concession is a permit to carry out commercial activity on land managed by DOC. Conditions are attached to permits to ensure the conservation values of the land are protected.
Submissions to the Draft Mount Aspiring National Park Management Plan closed in June and the department is still considering the 436 submissions received. A progress report on proposed revisions to the draft plan was presented to the Otago Conservation Board last week. One of the potential changes is to change the park’s front country zone boundary at the Routeburn roadend.
The progress report indicated the department’s preliminary thinking on some of the major issues raised in the submissions. There are still some unresolved issues to be considered before final decisions on various policies can be made.
“We’re only part-way through the planning process so the zone boundaries are still under consideration. Once the plan is revised it goes to the board for consideration and approval before going to the NZ Conservation Authority for a final approval process, so we’ve still got a long way to go,” Ms van der Goes said.
Otago Conservator Marian van der Goes: Ph: +64 3 474 6927 or +64 27 2463 491