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Entry or passage across rivers and lakes

Entry or passage across rivers and lakes

Updated 8 July 2015 8:46am

You can do it in a car, you can do it on a horse, and you can do it on some skis, of course. In short, entry or passage across river and lake beds, and across the surface of the water, is allowed as of right. But unfortunately it's not quite as simple as that.

Passing across the surface of water is allowed as of right, unless there is a rule about it in a district plan. Check your local district plan for any restrictions.

If you are passing across the bed of a river or lake, you cannot disturb that bed. Any disturbance of the bed requires a land use consent unless it is specifically allowed by a rule in a regional plan.

To help clear it up, we have adopted a rule in our regional plan about "entry or passage".

Rule 35 of the Regional Freshwater Plan permits "entry or passage" across the bed of any lake or river. This activity is allowed without the need to comply with any conditions. But unrestricted entry or passage does not mean you can "disturb" the bed of the river. This means that if you are passing across a river (for example, in a car or on a horse) there should be no disturbance of the bed of the river or lake that is more than minor. If there is, such as when a large number of trucks drive through a river, then a land use consent may be required under Rule 49 or you should construct a ford or bridge to avoid or mitigate the effects of the bed disturbance.