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Published: 2001-02-13 00:00:00

Environment Waikato has granted resource consents for construction of a land-based jetsprint course in the Mercer Reserve.

The Auckland Jetsprint Club applied for consents to construct the course, which will be operated about twice a month over the season from October to April. The application attracted five submissions to Environment Waikato from Tangata Whenua, neighbours and environmental groups.

Most events would be operated over one day with the occasional two day event. The course will cover up to 1.2 hectares on reserve land, with 10,000 cubic metres of fill placed on the reserve to create earth bunds which will contain river water. The course will be filled up and emptied for each event, with the water left to settle for a week before being spray irrigated onto the reserve.

Submitters were concerned about the potential contamination of nearby waterways – the Waikato and the Mangatawhiri Rivers. Environment Waikato staff felt any contamination of the waterways, if it did occur, was likely to come from accidental spills during use of the course. Any contamination could largely be prevented through safety measures on the boats and through refuelling away from the waterways, staff said.

The Committee came to a split decision to approve the application. One Committee member did not support the fill placement in the area due to its historical significance.

The Committee considered that additional fill might affect flooding on the reserve, but the effects were likely to be minor. With the limited operation of the course and potential aesthetic benefits from developing the land, any potential effects could be avoided or lessened by conditions.

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