Update 25 March 2019: The proposed concession variation application has been formally withdrawn!:
28 February 2019. Canyoning in Griffin Creek is under threat from hydro development:
FMC is supporting the NZ Canyoning Association to attempt to save this exceptional West Coast canyon from being de-watered by a hydro scheme.
A concession and resource consent were granted to Griffin Creek Hydro Ltd in 2011 (before the canyon was first explored by canyoners in 2013.) Construction did not begin, and in 2015 NZ Energy Ltd partnered with the concessionaire to drive the project forward. We understand that to make the scheme viable, NZ Energy Ltd have applied to double the abstraction rate from 1200L/s to 2500L/s and have the acceptable residual flow lowered from 800L/s to 456L/s. This amount of take and residual flow would leave the canyon running at a pathetic trickle, removing all of the raw power which makes this such a special place for canyoning enthusiasts.
Griffin is a unique canyoning experience, due to the rare combination of sustained difficulty, length, accessibility and beauty. It is rated “nationally significant” in the Canyoning in NZ guidebook and is widely renown as probably in the top 3 canyons in Aotearoa.
The NZ Canyoning Association, with support from FMC have insisted that DOC properly take into account the high recreational values of the creek. DOC are considering whether a variation to the concession is appropriate, and the Canyoning Association maintain that it is a significant change and therefore a whole new concession would need to be applied for. The Association also insists that any new concession is publicly notified, given the high recreational values that could be destroyed.