Media release

ORC to take over maritime responsibilities for Lake Dunstan from 1 September

Friday 28 August 2020

The ORC Harbourmasters will be on the water this summer promoting safety and monitoring recreation.

The Otago Regional Council (ORC) on Wednesday approved the transfer of maritime responsibilities from the Central Otago District Council (CODC) back to ORC, in line with the recommendations of a hearings panel.

CODC also approved the transfer at a Wednesday meeting.

The transfer means ORC will formally take over all functions, powers and duties for maritime responsibilities for Lake Dunstan.

ORC Harbourmaster Steve Rushbrook said the transfer would bring benefits for Lake Dunstan water users.

“Firstly, the transfer of responsibilities back to ORC and the updated Bylaw will provide for more consistency in navigation rules across the region, particularly across Central Otago.

“The transfer will also mean a greater level of service for Lake Dunstan water users, as the ORC Harbourmasters will provide year-round harbourmaster expertise for the lake, and be available 24/7.”

Mr Rushbrook said the next steps were to roll out an implementation plan, ahead of the upcoming summer recreation season.

“We’ve spent a fair bit of time on the lake, getting familiar with the area and the locals. We’ve got an implementation plan that includes changes to signage, building awareness in the community of the rules, and kicking off monitoring and enforcement activities on the water.

“We’re looking forward to having a presence on Lake Dunstan over the summer, and making sure everyone’s safe and well informed of the rules.”

CODC initiated the transfer—reversing the 2006 transfer from ORC to CODC—in August last year, requiring an amendment to ORC’s Navigational Safety Bylaw 2019.

ORC agreed to take back maritime responsibility for Lake Dunstan in February, but a consultation process was required to update ORC’s Navigational Safety Bylaw, before the regional council could formally take up the role.

ORC Harbourmaster Steve Rushbrook on the Harbourmaster's vessel, Kaitiaki.

ORC Harbourmaster Steve Rushbrook on the Harbourmaster's vessel, Kaitiaki.