Re: Ryton Bay Development at Lake Coleridge

Ian Dampier

True to his stated intent the new owner, John Shrimpton, withdrew the resource applications in early August 2008. Definitely good news but during a passing conversation with the Ryton Station Manager in mid winter I was lead to believe that there would be no more camping at the Ryton. While casual camping continues for the moment, unfortunately none of the leases on the camp sites have been renewed.

The other abhorrant action Mr Shrimpton has taken is to block the access road to Lakes Ida and Catherine. Although it has always been accepted that this is a private road, access has never been an issue under the previous owners. Some time within the last few months Mr Shrimpton has seen fit to permanently lock the gate at the point of entry (off Harper Rd.) The locked gate is now festooned with signs clearly indicating the land owner’s intention. There is also signage to indicate that the land owner will allow foot access ONLY and intends that members of the public should take an arduous walk across country to reach the lakes in question. My enquiries with the Ryton Station indicate that this is a long term arrangement. When asked the reason for this decision the response was [b:13vmel80]“because it is a private road and because we can”.[/b:13vmel80]

While there is no disputing that the road is private, I take extreme issue with the fact that an area that was freely accessible for many years is now effectively locked off to the general population wishing to pursue outdoor activities such as fishing. If I wish to fish the three lakes accessed by this road I must now take an arduous cross country journey on foot leaving my vehicle exposed on the side of the road.

I and many others find it totally unacceptable that a piece of prime New Zealand real estate of high recreational value can be sold to a non-New Zealand resident who can then lock out the New Zealand Public, all presumably with the approval of Overseas Investment Office, LINZ, who approved Mr Shrimpton’s purchase of the Ryton Station. I would have thought that one of the conditions of the sale would be continued and uninterrupted public access to public waterways, but I am in the process of pursuing that line of enquiry ?

This sort of arrogant behaviour is a good example of why there are groups within NZ who lobby in opposition of foreign ownership of prime NZ real estate. Mr Shrimpton clearly thinks he is still in his native England, where private ownership includes the waterways themselves and the fish that swim in them, and the cost of a days fishing is measured in the hundreds of pounds.

I note with concern that Mr Shrimpton is presently seeking to purchase Glenthorne Station in the same region, and I wonder what other access restrictions he will impose if his purchase is approved by the Overseas Investment Office and the sale proceeds.