Campers in spotlight

The behaviour of young people camping around Waitaki lakes will be the focus of a meeting between Oamaru police and community groups early next month.

The meeting is held by police each year to plan how to cover popular camping areas and villages in the Waitaki Valley during the Christmas season.

But after bad behaviour by young people at Labour weekend, particularly at the Otematata boat harbour camping reserve, the meeting will this year include representatives from the Waitaki and Waimate district councils, which administer the camping reserves.

It will also include other groups with an interest in the area including the Ahuriri Community Board, Meridian Energy Ltd and Environment Canterbury.

Senior Sergeant Kevin Hooper, of Oamaru, said the annual planning meeting usually involved police, but this year the Waitaki counciland community groups had asked to be involved.

The meeting would discuss problems with behaviour at the reserves and put a plan of action in place, he said.

Waitaki rural parks officer Jane Matchett said the council asked to be involved after bad behaviour at the reserves by young people during Labour weekend, particularly at Otematata.

That behaviour included excessive drinking, and broken bottles, half-burnt furniture and damaged signs and trees were left in the reserves.

Police can evict those who misbehave by issuing trespass notices banning them from all reserves in the area for two years.

However, Ms Matchett said there might be other options before that step was taken.

One possibility was designating an area to which young people could be banished if they misbehaved.

That would make problems easier to police.

Other options may also emerge from the meeting on December 2 at the Oamaru police station.


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