Search on for ‘basic’ campsite

The Queenstown Lakes District Council is about  to look for a new "basic camping site" or a holiday park with capacity for more than 200 vehicles, in Wakatipu.

It also plans to find  sites in  Wanaka and  Wakatipu which the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association can operate exclusively for its members; redevelop the Frankton Camp to  create about 200 tent, campervan and caravan sites; and develop a facility at the Department of Conservation’s  12 Mile Delta site for another 400 campers.

The council has worked for almost a year on developing a  "responsible camping strategy" with six other parties: The Department of Conservation, NZ Transport Agency, Land Information New Zealand, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and the Southland and Central Otago district councils.

Next week, councillors will be asked to adopt the collaborative strategy which sets out a long list of things the group, led by the council, wants to change.

The strategy aims to encourage responsible camping, in all its forms, and was spurred on after residents became enraged at the behaviour and disrespect for the environment shown by some freedom campers last summer.

QLDC chief executive Mike Theelen said the strategy was a response to the "clear message" delivered by the community last year.

If adopted, the strategy would provide a strong platform for the group to guide sustainable change, he said.

"Significant change won’t happen overnight, but it will happen."

The strategy outlines a total of 61 "actions" grouped into short (2018-19), medium (2020-23) and long-term (2024 and beyond).

There 23 short-term actions include the investigations for a new site; initial planning to redevelop the Frankton Camp into a "seasonal camp ground"; and identifying the NZMCA areas.

The Frankton Camp redevelopment was planned for the 2020-23 period, as was the confirmation and initial planning for the new Wakatipu site.

Also in the medium-term was the 12 Mile Delta camp’s expansion and seeking of private sector investment to develop and operate new and/or existing camping facilities.

Other short-term plans were to actively enforce self-containment standards,  provide additional public toilets, dump stations at Frankton and introduce "temporary hubs" for limited overnight camping, washing and waste disposal, to be monitored for community and user feedback.

On Thursday the council will also be asked to amend its Freedom Camping Control Bylaw 2012 to prohibit camping at all council-administered Lake Hayes reserves and the Shotover Delta parking area.

In February the council put up gates at both areas to temporarily stop freedom campers staying overnight and the amendment to the bylaw was to formalise that decision.

The proposal was publicly notified and attracted 47 submissions — 11 in opposition and 36 in support.

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