Council camping ground lease agreement indicated

Leasing arrangements for the Queenstown Lakes District Council's four main camping grounds could be known in ''a matter of days'', the council's chief executive, Adam Feeley, said.

Mr Feeley said the council had a preferred party it was negotiating with and if an agreement could not be reached the council would go to the second ''credible'' party.

Earlier this year, the council called for expressions of interest for private provision of its camping facilities at Queenstown, Wanaka, Arrowtown, and Glendhu Bay.

The process followed a review into the council's role in the operation of its camping grounds, which resulted in an amendment to its policy so it could no longer run camping grounds which competed with those operated by the private sector; or which required significant subsidies from ratepayers.

Mr Feeley has previously said some of the camping grounds were running at a loss.

About 10 expressions of interest were received by the council several months ago, and Mr Feeley said at the time he was ''pleasantly surprised'' by the high level of interest.

The Otago Daily Times reported in May that discussions in the lead-up phase indicated there were people interested in running all four of the council-owned camping grounds, or running either the two in the Wakatipu basin or the two in the Upper Clutha area.

When asked yesterday whether the one preferred party would be running all four camping grounds, Mr Feeley said he ''can't quite comment on that'' and ''it will become apparent in some shape or form'' when an announcement is made about the leasing arrangements.

''There's slightly different arrangements depending on who it is.''

Mr Feeley was given permission by the council to sign a contract with a party if it got to that point, and yesterday he said ''resolving the initial negotiation'' was imminent.

Either an agreement would be reached or if ''there are a couple of show stoppers ... we'll go back to the other party''.

When asked whether Creeksyde holiday park owner Erna Spijkerbosch had been given a management contract for the Queenstown Lakeview holiday park, Mr Feeley said he could not comment.

Ms Spijkerbosch said she had ''no knowledge of that''.

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