The Lake Dunstan Charitable Trust Board was established in 2015 and is regarded by the community and our elected representatives as the ‘Guardians of Lake Dunstan'.
Our objectives are:
- To work with the wider Cromwell community and relevant organisation’s to, where possible enhance and protect Lake Dunstan and its catchments.
- To raise awareness amongst the wider public as to the importance of maintaining and improving the water quality and health of the lake and other waterways.
- To encourage the development of a management plan and monitoring framework for Lake Dunstan.
- To work with the community and relevant agencies to provide for appropriate measurement and monitoring of water quality.
- To generally do or perform all such act, matters or things as may be incidental or conductive to the attainment of any of the foregoing objects.
- To seek, accept and receive through public and private donations, subsidies, grants, endowments, gifts, legacies, loans and bequests either in money or in kind for all or any of the purposes and objects of the trust.
In 1987, five years before filling of the lake began the then, Ministry of Works and Development commissioned a report titled ‘Water Oriented Recreation on the Upper Clutha Hydro Lakes’ by Dr Reiner Jaakson, a Professor of Recreation Geography and Tourism at the University of Toronto, Canada.
Dr Jaakson’s experience in America and Canada is important. The period of 1930’s to 1960’s in the United States and Canada was the era of large dam construction, with large, complex projects with wide-ranging social and economic aims.
Dr Jaakson made many recommendations for Lake Dunstan in his report, many of which are yet to be implemented.
Large dam projects in the United States and Canada were often justified by their social benefits ahead of economic benefits. In the case of the Clyde Dam the economic benefits were the primary justification and relatively easy to define, while the social benefits are somewhat ambiguous.
In my view, despite the filling of Lake Dunstan being completed in 1993, the ‘Dam Project’ itself remains incomplete and will remain incomplete until we, as a community realize the true social benefits of the lake that was forced upon our town over 30 years ago.
The recent community engagement exercise completed as part of the CODC Cromwell Master Plan process universally identified Lake Dunstan to be an under used asset, including:
- The need for better use of lake front and views.
- The need for better connectivity to the lake.
- The need for development of more watersport and activities.
- The need to develop around the lake for families.
- The need for major dredging to maintain quality of the lake.
- The need for retail, cafés and tourist attractions.
- The need for environmental improvements.
These issues are not surprising given the management of the lake being spread between multiple agencies, including Land and Information New Zealand, Otago Reginal Council, Central Otago District Council, Contact Energy and their various contractors. Each agency is responsible for a different element of the lake, but acts independently of the others with no single strategic plan.
The Guardians of Lake Dunstan has assumed responsibility and significant support from the community, elected members and stakeholders to develop the urgently needed, strategic lake management plan.
The Lake Management Plan will be broadly focused on recreation, including:
We are strongly focused on community engagement, and intend to keep the users of the lake and the wider Cromwell community up to date as we progress.
Nāku noa, nā,