13 Jan 2018

West Coast hydro decision delayed

4:14 pm on 13 January 2018

A Department of Conservation decision on whether to allow a hydro electric power scheme to be built on a West Coast river will take about six months longer than expected.

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Kayaking on the Waitaha river. Photo: Screenshot / WestCoastFilm

In 2016 the Department of Conservation began seeking feedback on a decision to 'approve in principle' an application from Westpower for the scheme in the Morgan Gorge, on the Waitaha River.

It received more than 3264 submissions, about 50 of which were presented during a four-day hearing in Hokitika in December 2016.

Those against the proposal said it would have an irreversible impact on the pristine gorge, which the department is charged with protecting, but those in favour said it would strengthen the region's power supply network.

The Department of Conservation initially said a decision would be released by mid-2017, but a spokesperson told RNZ it was now unlikely to be released until March at the earliest.

They said this was because the proposal was complex and required due process.