Council baulks at DOC plans for Hollyford road

By Rebekah Fraser

The Westland District Council and its subsidiary have moved to try to protect the future of the Haast-Hollyford road, with a Department of Conservation plan likely to block it altogether.
DOC’s draft Conservation Management Strategies for Otago and Southland include policies for Fiordland and the Mount Aspiring National Park, through which part of the proposed toll road would pass.
Both the council and Westland District Property Ltd have written to the department asking for changes to the plans, which seek to close all unformed legal road.
The Otago plan includes a policy to “seek the stopping or resumption of the unformed legal road in the Pyke valley remote visitor management setting”.
The Pyke valley is part of the planned road route in the southern zone.
Council chief executive Tanya Winter has asked DOC to scrap the policy entirely.
“It potentially conflicts with the concept of enabling public access to the premier tramping, alpine climbing and wilderness exploration opportunities.”
She has also asked that the department include a paragraph within the document acknowledging the Hollyford road proposal.
“In the absence of any definite proposal, this CMS neither supports or rejects such a proposal, but does recognise that any such proposal can only advance on its merits,” her suggested wording states.
Ms Winter has asked for the same to be included in the Southland draft CMS.
Property company director Durham Havill has also made a similar submission to both plans.
He told the Guardian last week that there were plenty of national parks people could drive through, including Arthur’s Pass.
“This is something put up to close the road just because the conservation lobby don’t want it to happen.”
DOC will now hold hearings on the plans in October and November. Ms Winter intends attending the hearings.
The CMS plans will not be finalised until next year as the department must revise them and send them to the Minister of Conservation before final approval.