The public are invited to have their say on the future of Lowburn Valley, a Crown pastoral lease in Central Otago’s high country.
Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), which manages tenure review on behalf of the Commissioner of Crown Lands (CCL), has developed a preliminary proposal for the 5815ha pastoral lease.
Under the proposal, 1919ha would become conservation land and the remaining 3896ha freehold land, with nearly half protected through conservation covenants restricting activities on the land.
CCL Craig Harris says if the proposal goes ahead, it will provide greater protection for these iconic landscapes, expand the neighbouring Pisa Conservation Area and increase public access.
‘‘If the proposal proceeds, it will formalise public access to 25km of tracks, equivalent to the length of 250 rugby fields, through freehold land,’’ he said.
‘‘This would expand existing recreational areas enjoyed by many for tramping, horse riding, biking and hunting.’’
The proposal also offers increased protection for significant landmarks, including rocky gorges, historic stone huts and goldmining sites in the Roaring Meg, Mitre Creek and Skeleton Stream.
Mr Harris encouraged anyone with an interest in the South Island high country and the future of this pastoral lease to share their feedback on the proposal.
Tenure review is a voluntary process that gives leaseholders an opportunity to buy land capable of economic use, while land with high conservation values is protected and restored to full Crown ownership as conservation land.
While the Government decided to end tenure review in 2018, until changes to the Crown Pastoral Land Act come into effect, tenure review is ongoing.
The pastoral lease is one of 23 properties in tenure review at present.
Submissions close on March 7 at 5pm.