Freedom-camper waste still problem

John Taylor
John Taylor
Human excrement allegedly deposited by freedom campers is still fouling the southwestern shore of Lake Hawea and local residents are again calling for action.

A delegation will meet Land Information New Zealand management today in a renewed bid to improve the government department's management of Crown land along the lake.

Linz administers areas such as Deep Bay and Craig Burn which are popular with freedom campers.

In an inspection of the areas on Wednesday, Guardians of Lake Hawea executive member John Taylor and Lake Hawea Community Association vice-president Di Turnbull found evidence human excrement was being left behind when freedom campers departed.

They photographed the evidence for the meeting but noted the amount of excrement was less than in previous years.

Last year, Mr Taylor described both areas as ''a cesspit''.

The pair believed a toilet installed by the Queenstown Lakes District Council at Craig Burn might have been one reason for the improvement, although it was already there last summer when the problem was particularly bad.

Mr Taylor, who has been pushing for improvements for nine years, said he had been advised to use his camera to capture evidence of the problem and he now had an extensive library.

''The only problem is, no-one wants to look at it.''

As he and Ms Turnbull pushed through scrub in search of evidence on Wednesday, they were approached by a freedom-camping German woman, who asked if they were ''looking for something special''.

Helga Dohm, from Hanover, said she and her husband preferred freedom camping because they regarded camper-van parks as too crowded and noisy.

''It is nice to stay in the nature.''

They claimed their small van was self-contained, although that is not a requirement for freedom campers using Linz-administered land not subject to the newly introduced Freedom Camping Act.

Ms Turnbull said she hoped today's meeting would produce a better management plan for the Linz areas and that the department might install a toilet at Deep Bay.

Mr Taylor said the bay was once a popular place for locals to swim and fish but last year it was ''smelly and undesirable''.

- mark.price@odt.co.nz