Community, Linz move to mitigate camping effects

Improved signs and better monitoring of Lake Hawea freedom camping problem spots were among measures proposed at a meeting held to discuss freedom camping issues.

Members of the Hawea Community Association (HCA) and the Guardians of Lake Hawea group met Land Information New Zealand (Linz) management and QLDC representatives in Wanaka on Friday to discuss freedom camping along the southwestern shore of Lake Hawea, where the depositing of toilet waste allegedly by freedom campers has residents calling for better management of Crown land alongside the lake.

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

Self-contained vehicles are not a requirement for freedom campers using Linz-administered land, which is not subject to the new Freedom Camping Act. Linz Crown property manager Bill Naik said the organisation's representative at the meeting, Diane Cardwell, felt the discussions had gone well.

''The parties discussed the environmental issues associated with freedom camping around the lake and identified a number of potential initiatives, such as improved signage and monitoring to help mitigate the issues,'' Mr Naik said.

Guardians of Lake Hawea executive member John Taylor agreed the meeting was ''very positive''.

''Linz were proactive and forthcoming ... we seem to be well and truly moving in a good direction, or the same direction, as to what we want to achieve now.''

Mr Taylor said Linz had offered to work with QLDC to create and install comprehensive information signs at sites such as The Neck, encouraging people in non-self-contained vehicles to stay at camping grounds in the area, rather than freedom camp.

Better monitoring of the lake shore freedom camping spots was also discussed and it was possible the Hawea community could be contracted to work with Asplundh - which collects rubbish in the area - to remove human excrement from the sites.

HCA vice-president Di Turnbull-Anderson agreed the meeting had been productive.

''We've had lots of meetings before and nothing's ever happened,'' she said.

''We're not mucking around any more. We've got to do something to make change.''

Linz had a deadline of three months to consider other measures suggested by the community, including funding a toilet at Deep Bay.

lucy.ibbotson@odt.co.nz