[4 March] Kayakers and environmentalists will be staging a major protest this weekend at BullerFest over a proposal to put the Gowan River into a hydro canal. Protesters plan to rally and erect signs around the Buller region during the weekend BullerFest. Protesters plan to rally and erect signs around the Buller region during the weekend BullerFest. The Majac Trust wants to put five kilometres, or half the length, of the Gowan into a canal to run a power station, says NZRCA Conservation Officer Duncan Catanach.
It will reduce the river’s typical flow from more than 23 cumecs to 9 cumecs for 79% of the time effectively destroying the character and qualities of the Gowan River, particularly its unique whitewater and as a major trout and eel fishery. The Living Rivers Coalition has issued a media release (PDF, 103k). Update 7 March: The weekend protest was successful. “We had one or two hundred kayakers and rafters really enjoying the Buller, Living Rivers coalition spokesperson Duncan Catanach said. You could really see why the Buller River is protected by a conservation order.