No doubt Canterbury Surveyors will be (should be!) watching the outcome of the "discussion" on this matter.... Stuff: 31-Jan-2019
Although the reporting is a little confusing - I think the High Court may have got it right with their decision to counter the ECan/District Court river bank definition strategy.
It would appear that the vexing issue of determining where the bank of a braided river is - one that may be very wide and also not always have any flow, or water, therein - has been determined by ECan (supported by the District Court) to be the river's fullest flow. But wait there's more - this "fullest flow" is based on 1 in 50 year flood modelling.... Crikey!
I thought it was "annual fullest flow" to negate any unusual flood type events; with "judgement" to be exercised for braided rivers especially.
Brent, We don't have similar rivers in Northland. Do you think that this case will have a bearing on the boundary definition of the river bank or is it a question of interpreting the regional plan? Is the bed of this river in private ownership?
Do you think that this case will have a bearing on the boundary definition of the river bank or is it a question of interpreting the regional plan? Is the bed of this river in private ownership?
I may have mis-interpreted reports. But if I may jump to conclusions.....
...It may potentially have an affect on boundary definition. If the mathematical modelling of a river becomes the only way to determine a braided river water boundary, then that (potentially) becomes the defining factor. As we can appreciate the impact on modern computer based applications that use GIS data for the easy depiction of land information (including boundaries and imagery), then one can easily take such information to the next stage by applying authoritative hydrology modelling (say) to determine the extent of water body margins. Thus dispensing with the need for Joe Surveyor to assess all evidence (documentary, historical and physical), in order to determine a 'water boundary'.
The bed of the rivers are deemed to be Crown land - unless AMF rights exist and apply.
It sounds as though the council is using modelled flood levels as a method for determining the river bank. This was a suggested method by the Porirua City Council for a case involving Duck Creek. It appeared to me to be a mickey mouse idea.
Coincidentally, I have recently been made aware of the Canterbury Regional Council Flood Protection and Drainage Bylaw 2013 and subsequent "policy" being implemented by ECan whereby they are requiring "easements" over portions of land adjacent to selected Rivers when the adjoining land is claiming accretion. Fair enough one may say...
BUT: ECan have defined "Flood Protection Vegetation" lines adjacent to selected waterbodies. These are a series of irregular lines that run alongside rivers, and are not always parallel too, or have any clear relationship with any feature (bank; vegetation; legal boundary). It is not clear on how these lines were identified, created or finalised. In some locations, these lines are 200m (!!) or so from the existing river bank - well past any existing vegetation margin and well into stable, farmed, privately owned land.
ECan are requiring "easements" between these vegetation lines and the surveyed bank of the river - to enable access for flood protection and erosion control. I accept that sometimes the standard "20m" width (equivalent esplanade/marginal strip type buffer) may not be sufficient for these purposes - but 200m!
My initial question is: "Under what jurisdiction does ECan have to impose such easements?" And the second question: "Why are the buffers so huge in places? And third question: "How were they defined?
See this link for the extents of ECan's "vegetation boundaries": Canterbury Maps (when opening ensure to select the "restore layer status" check box that pops up in the lower right corner so you can view the ECan layers)
When completing an accretion claim survey, ECan are one of the entities to be consulted with to see if they have any evidence to rebut the claim that the bed has become dry by accretion. It is during this process that they require the easement from the owner before they will give their 'approval' (or in other words, confirm that they don't have any contrary evidence). I don't believe there is any statutory mandate to take this approach, but if you want your plan to deposit....