As a result of submissions by Federated Mountain Clubs, Fish & Game and the Walking Access Commission, the Waimea Dam Bill has been amended to include a provision for public access over the new dam and in the reservoir’s catchment.
The Tasman District Council has also committed to a collaboration with Fish and Game, the Walking Access Commission and local Mountain Biking clubs, to consider further improvements in public access on the areas of land beyond the scope of the bill. Improved access up the Lee River to the dam is expected to take top priority.
There has been no public vehicle access up the 14km long Lee River Road to Mount Richmond Forest Park in the past 20 years. The reservoir created by the dam will cover an area of 87.5ha, 9.7ha being currently part of Mount Richmond Forest Park, the remaining 77.8ha being owned by forestry companies or Ngāti Koata. Vehicle access up Lee Valley Road as far as the dam would make trips to Mount Starveall and Starveall Hut more appealing, with the potential to re-establish the overgrown track to Mount Rintoul and the Te Araroa Trail also.
FMC considers the outcome of this process as being of benefit to recreational users of Mount Richmond Forest Park.