Camping 'hubs' condition of Govt funding

The State Highway 6 Shotover Bridge, near Queenstown. Photo: ODT files
The Shotover Bridge, near Frankton, has been confirmed as one of the likely hub locations. Photo: ODT files
The Queenstown Lakes District Council must set up two camping "hubs" and erect signs at 30 camping hot spots by December 1.

The deadline is a condition of the $530,000 the council has received from the Government to help deal with an expected influx of freedom campers this summer.

Council community services general manager Thunes Cloete said the hubs were likely to have toilets, rubbish bins and possibly features such as Wi-Fi, although details had yet to be finalised.

He could not confirm one of the hubs would be located by the Shotover Bridge near Frankton, but it was "logical" there would be one in the Wakatipu and one in the Upper Clutha area.

In January, the council announced it would expand an existing freedom camping area near the Shotover Bridge, by State Highway 6, and built toilets there.

Dr Cloete said the new signs would redirect freedom campers to the hubs or other approved camp sites.

The rest of the money would be used to bolster enforcement, establish a "freedom camping co-ordinator" position, and pay for education programmes and advertising.

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said freedom camping had lost "some of its social licence" throughout the country because of the behaviour of a minority of irresponsible campers.

"Last summer we heard a clear message from our local community that something had to change to protect our environment and their ability to enjoy it."

The projects would align with the council's "responsible camping strategy", expected to be completed later in the year.

In February, the council banned freedom campers from the Shotover Delta and Lake Hayes reserve after a flood of complaints by residents about overcrowding and risks to public health and the environment.

It is now consulting on changes to its freedom camping bylaw and the Lake Hayes Reserve Management Plan that would formalise the ban at the two sites. Submissions close on August 31.

 

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