In a request to the Central Otago District Council, John Sanders, of Matangi MTB Park Ltd and Matangi Station at Little Valley Rd, proposed activities where the public would be charged for access. These include mountain biking, hiking, walking, orienteering, quail shooting (seasonal), possibly horseback riding, competitions organized by the applicant and third party operators, filmmaking, military training and non-profit recreational events.
Mr Sanders said he wanted the residents of Alexandra to enjoy the recreation of the family farm and for the district to benefit economically “but in a way that does not interfere with farming operations.”
He also said he wanted to mitigate the adverse effects of public access in “a structured public recreation proposal for Matangi station.”
In support, the application indicated that the Sanders family had exclusive possession of the property, which is on pastoral Crown leaseholds, and trespassing rights against the public.
Matangi station already had trails, fences and posts as well as routes established by a mountain biking group and these attributes had resulted in increasing public recreational use of the station.
Out-of-town commercial operators were using the station without permission, and dogs had been taken to the station without consent, posing a serious risk of sheep measles.
Members of the public also damaged doors, locks and fences.
The tracks had been damaged by the unauthorized use of motorcycles and “the situation has gotten somewhat out of hand”, the applicants said.
In background information, the Sanders family said the project would require significant work and oversight on their part and should be undertaken on a commercial basis.
It was proposed to build new tracks and improve the existing ones. Signs would be installed, ongoing maintenance of the lanes would be established, a parking lot constructed, toilets and drinking water provided and three other posts already constructed would be installed.
Electronic amounts may also be required in the future “to induce users to pay”.
An additional amount may be required in Graveyard Gully Rd as well as an additional five amounts at high traffic crossings in conjunction with new lanes.
Some aspects of the activity would require consent to use the land, for example, commercial activity; sight distances of intersections; anticipated circulation of more than 15 vehicles per day; the establishment of parking for events (capped at 25 per year); and the fact that one of the proposed studs would be in Graveyard Gully Road, an exceptional natural area.
A riverside area of Matangi Station on Tuckers Hill Road would be available free to hikers and mountain bikers.
The Sanders family requested that the request be publicly notified under the Resource Management Act 1991.
People had until Thursday, September 9, to provide comments to Matangi MTB Park Ltd, 1054 Little Valley Rd, Alexandra or the Central Otago District Council.
A council spokesperson said that although the request was publicly notified before the lockdown, the deadline could potentially be extended and the council would consider any late submission request provided there are valid reasons.
A notified consent normally took three months to promptly process requests for additional information and / or the requestor putting the request on hold.
– Mary-Jo Tohill