DOC refutes Oparara “developer” claims

Press Release – Department of Conservation

Contrary to recent media reports, DOC has not committed to any theme park style development in the Oparara Basin, and commentary that suggests this in the media is inaccurate and misleading.
16 May 2017

DOC refutes Oparara “developer” claims

This statement is attributable to Mark Davies, Operations Director, Western South Island.

Contrary to recent media reports, DOC has not committed to any “theme park” style development in the Oparara Basin, and commentary that suggests this in the media is inaccurate and misleading.

Also incorrect is the claim that DOC is spending $3m on this proposal. No DOC money has been spent on the concept. In the early 2000’s a 3.2 million dollar investment saw visitor infrastructure established in the Oparara in a joint project between DOC and the Oparara Valley Trust.

What is correct is that through the West Coast Regional Growth Study, led and funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Department was asked to lead a piece of conceptual design work that could portray the Oparara Basin as a compelling West Coast visitor destination.

The interpretation concepts developed to date are ideas only, and would be further developed in consultation with the community and with regard to the local environment if the project were to go ahead.

The Oparara Basin has had reasonably significant development already, and is becoming a more popular site by word of mouth through social media which is why it was identified through the growth study as a potential icon site for the future.

Any development in the basin would aim to safeguard the environment and better cater for existing visitors, while aiming to attract more people so the community of Karamea benefits.

We acknowledge that to some people, the particular concepts are a departure from the Department’s interpretation style to date, but it does need to be stressed that they are concepts only.

The Oparara Basin concepts currently sit with the West Coast Regional Growth Study Governance Group for their consideration. They will assess and rank them amongst other priorities and ultimately determine if they will proceed to a feasibility study stage. Because of very conceptual nature of the work to date, no assessment of the potential costs have been made.
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