West Coast Mayor 'disappointed' at Government's move to block new hydro scheme

A kayaker in white water.
A kayaker on the river. Photo credit: Supplied/ David Parker

West Coast Mayor Tony Kokshoorn is upset Environment Minister David Parker dismissed plans to build a new hydropower scheme on the Waitaha River.

Parker announced he was rejecting the scheme on Wednesday, years after public hearings took place on the project.

Kokshoorn said the decision is unfortunate, especially considering the scheme would have generated renewable energy.

"This is renewable energy. Westpower has worked on this for donkey's years, they've made many concessions for kayakers."

On top of that, the river is barely used by humans.

"This is only a very small portion of the West Coast, it is in an isolated area and it is renewable energy."

Kokshoorn said he believed the Green Party was involved in the decision and the fact the project isn't going forward could harm the West Coast.

Parker said in a statement the area was largely untouched by humans and deserved protection.

"The area is largely unmodified by humans. It is near to pristine and yet is accessible for recreation," Parker said in a statement.

"The area is valued for its natural beauty and wilderness qualities for recreation. The proposal would have significantly undermined the area's intrinsic values which people experience when they tramp and kayak there.

"I considered expert advice and submitters' views and concluded that the adverse effects of the activity could not be adequately or reasonably mitigated.

Parker told Stuff by law he could not take economic impact into consideration. He admitted there could have been some economic advantages but it would not have changed the price of power.