'Hub' draws opposition from camp operators

A line-up of camper vans at the Red Bridge ``hub'' near Luggate. PHOTO: MARK PRICE
A line-up of camper vans at the Red Bridge ``hub'' near Luggate. PHOTO: MARK PRICE
A third Lakes District camping ground operator has joined the chorus of discontent over the new Queenstown Lakes District Council "hub" near Luggate, which offers some tourists free camping sites.

Camping grounds at Hawea and at the Lake Wanaka outlet have already expressed concern at lost revenue because of the government-funded hubs.

Now the Luggate-Albion Cricket Club, which operates the Luggate Camping Ground, also claims it is losing money.

Club president Mike O'Connor told the Otago Daily Times the hub had "more than halved" the number of campers at the camping ground.

Mr O'Connor said for six weeks non-self-contained vehicles "in masses" had been staying at the hub, rather than being directed to the camping ground.

He believed the council was not policing the hub well enough.

"These freeloaders ... should be kicked out if they are not self-contained."

The Luggate camping ground charges $5 per person per night and can accommodate 52 people.

Mr O'Connor said it had been made to go through a "lot of hoops" to conform with the camping ground regulations.

This had included spending $100,000 on new showers and toilets, using money raised over the past 20 years, and another $20,000 was needed to hook up to the council's new Luggate sewerage system.

Profits from the camping ground go towards the area's nine cricket teams.

Mr O'Connor said cricket balls cost $90 each and lasted only one senior game.

"Just in cricket balls alone, it's a massive cost."

Council communications officer Rebecca Pitts said the council had found "a few" non-self-contained vehicles at the Red Bridge.

"There have been between one and three a night moved on from this site. However, others may arrive after the [camping] ambassadors have been out to do their checks."

A member of the Luggate Community Association who checked the hub each night at 10.30 found 44 vehicles using it on Friday night, 41 on Saturday night and 53 on Sunday night.

The council website states the hub is for "approximately 25 certified self-contained vehicles".

Association chairman Graeme Perkins said the hub "has quite obviously been a roaring success, with none of the previous litter problems around town".

"The fact that some non-self-contained vehicles may be using the site seems to be a minor issue.

"If denied, would they use the local campground, or would they park up somewhere to spend the night on the cheap?"

Two young tourists at the hub spoken to by the ODT asked why the council had provided toilets for those in self-contained vans who did not need them, while prohibiting those in non-self-contained vehicles, who did need them.

Ms Pitts said that was a "fair question" and was likely to be addressed during the hub debrief at the end of the summer.


It gets worse. My family were on Scott's Beach at Lake Hawea when a French tourist began shampooing his hair and soaping himself less the 2km away from the Lake Hawea Holiday camp where he could have purchased a warm shower without polluting the Lake. He was moved on politely by my shocked family. But do these local body bureaucrats not have the sense to realise that freeloaders are not respecting our environment or communities. Do I really want a tourist bums washing themselves in public in front my family or property for that matter. Especially when there are perfectly adequate facilities at reasonable costs a short distance away. These people are rorting our goodwill and defecating around and abusing in our beautiful lakes in complete contempt of our sensibilities and environment. Tourism at this level I don't want and if they can afford to fly here they can afford a shower rather than pollute the countryside at my cost. Local government needs to get real and support accommodation providers and show respect for its rate payers. This makes me grumpy, even more so given the limp excuses offered by QLDC and others. These people are parasites.