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Southland council fights bike trail ruling

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 5/12/2016

An Environment Court ruling against the planned Oreti River section of the Around the Mountains Cycle Trail is to go to an appeal.

Southland District Council has confirmed it will fight the decision, saying the issue is greater than just a cycle trail.

In November, the Environment Court decided in favour of Fish and Game Southland, which argued against the planned route going beside the river, a major attraction for anglers.

Council chief executive Steve Ruru says the court's approach in reaching its verdict was significant, particularly around the way the council processes consents as a regulatory agency.

"In this regard, the decision places a focus on the District Plan rather than allowing for a broad overall assessment, which is currently allowed for in the Resource Management Plan and has traditionally been used by consenting authorities," he said.

While the council has lodged an appeal, Mr Ruru said it would continue to talk to Fish and Game to see if an agreement can be reached.

The trail project began in 2010 and the first section was officially opened in November 2014.

However, Fish and Game appealed against an independent commissioner's decision to grant consents for stage two.

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