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The machinery is the property of the previous and present managers and lessees of the camping ground and is situated on land which has been the centre of controversy since 2009.
There were complaints about the truck trailers stacked with fair ride gear being parked on the street, and it had also been stored inside the camping ground, before present lessee manager Lee-Anne Dey said it was moved in December 2020 to the adjacent reserve land, to make space in the camping ground for summer campers.
Ms Dey said it was safely cordoned off in an area that was ‘‘very seldom used’’.
Concerned people in the community, including Forest & Bird South Otago, complained to the council about a public reserve being used improperly.
Forest & Bird members, and volunteer trappers at the reserve, Jim and Jane Young have been active in the initiative to remove the machinery and said previous inaction by the council had made them somewhat sceptical of the new deadline for action to be taken.
‘‘Our major issue is the failure of the council to monitor what’s happening on land they own and manage, and to take action. No-one’s allowed to put stuff there. If trucks and trailers were being stored in the centre of Naish Park [in Balclutha] it would be gone pretty quick,’’ Mr Young said.
Ms Dey and her former partner supplied and operated the rides for A&P shows and similar events around the lower South Island.
She said that they had nowhere else to store the equipment, which had a ‘‘significant’’ financial value.
Ms Dey, a chef by trade, had been informally involved in running the camping ground since 2009 before she took over management in July 2020.
She became the official leaseholder on August 3 this year and said she just wanted to run the camping ground business but had inherited a problem ‘‘where everyone is on her case’’.
It was only after the lease changed that the council was able to issue the notice concerned residents have been campaigning for since last summer.
Under the order, if the items remain on site after November 1, the council will be able to deem it ‘‘abandoned’’, remove it and recover the costs.
Ms Dey said, ‘‘I completely understand but it’s been impossible to find anywhere else to store the gear. I do want to get rid of it but it’s extremely valuable. I need to sell it but it’s a very difficult market anyway and the Covid situation makes it even harder.’’
She hoped to find a short-term solution, such as storing her fairground rides on unused farmland, and welcomed constructive offers of assistance from the community.