Holiday disorder move initiated

Oamaru young people are attempting to stop problems occurring in the Waitaki Valley, particularly at Otematata, again this Labour Weekend holidays.

They want to reverse the negative image from last year when some young people caused major disruption at Otematata, including throwing bottles, vandalism, lighting illegal fires and graffiti.

Seven Students Against Driving Drunk representatives - from St Kevin's College, Waitaki Boys' and Girls' high schools - met the Waitaki District Council's communications manager Scott Ridley yesterday to discuss how to improve the situation at Labour Weekend and plan what they could do.

They are hoping a separate area near Loch Laird will be set aside, fenced and controlled, for secondary school pupils from Oamaru to camp and enjoy the weekend.

They listed problems which occurred last year, and solutions.

Some of the problems included drinking and driving, people being evicted from accommodation in Otematata, bottle throwing, "older" people (over 20-year-olds) creating problems for younger people, vehicles, particularly four-wheel-drives and motor bikes being driven through camp sites endangering campers and people not paying camp fees.

Proposed solutions to those problems included a fenced, separate area for young people to camp in, registering and paying camp fees to get information packs and an entry bracelet before Labour Weekend, policing entry to the camping area, having a communal central bonfire, providing a barbecue for people to use, ensuring young people ate food and did not just drink, providing a list of basics people needed to take, providing potable drinking water and other non-alcoholic drinks and having music and lights with a generator.

Another proposed solution was having a car parking area where cars had to be left, and keys could only be retrieved after a breath test.

Regular transport to and from Otematata to discourage drinking and driving was also suggested.

All the suggestions will be considered by the Waitaki District Council when they meet emergency services and community groups to plan coverage for Labour Weekend.

- david.bruce@odt.co.nz

 

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