Investigation into holiday park after slew of complaints

The Central Otago District Council is investigating complaints about the way the Clyde Holiday...
The Central Otago District Council is investigating complaints about the way the Clyde Holiday Park is being managed. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
A storm has erupted at an Otago holiday park, with former holidaymakers vowing to take themselves and their money elsewhere in protest at the way it is run.

The managers of the council-owned Clyde Holiday Park face a slew of complaints that centre on evictions, allegations of guests at the park being followed by the camp manager, booking issues and abusive behaviour.

The Central Otago District Council said it will investigate the complaints against the camp’s lessees Gary and Roslyn Ryan.

The Otago Daily Times was made aware of evictions at the holiday park before New Year’s Eve, but the ODT also received complaints dating back to when the Ryans took over the lease of the park two years ago.

Christchurch woman Gill Odering said she also had problems securing a booking for this season and called Mr Ryan.

During their discussion she told him he was being difficult and was disorganised and he hung up on her, she said.

Gore woman Trish Gutschlag said she had not been able to make a booking since the Ryans took over the lease, despite multiple emails.

"People are asking me why I am no longer camping at Clyde after 40 plus years."

She pointed to widely reported historic issues at the Winchester Motor Camp in South Canterbury and Selwyn District Council’s North Rakaia Huts - when both were leased by the Ryans.

Invercargill man Wing Ng said he was asked to leave on December 30 after intervening in what he believed was a domestic incident the night before.

Mr Ng, then an off-duty police officer, said he had heard raised voices and went to investigate.

As he got closer he recognised his sister-in-law Leanne Cameron and Mr Ryan along with Mr Ryan’s wife who was attempting to calm her husband.

Eventually, Mr Ryan yelled "you’re all out, you’re gone," Mr Ng said.

The following morning Mrs Cameron, Mr Ng and another family were informed by Mr Ryan they were to leave but did not say exactly who.

"All he would say was ‘you’re all out’, and walked away."

Mr Ng’s wife, Paula, went to the office to clarify and was told by Mrs Ryan the Cameron family, a neighbouring family and just her husband were to leave.

Mr Ng said that left his wife, children, grandchildren and extended family at the camp without him.

"Being torn away from my family for New Year was too much."

Generations of his family had camped at Clyde Holiday Park for 52 years and the money he and his family spent was in Clyde.

They — and their money — would not return, Mr Ng said.

Mrs Cameron said her dispute stemmed from an incident when her 17-year-old daughter and her partner were stopped on the street near the camp by Mr Ryan.

He demanded to know if the couple had been in the camp.

Mrs Cameron said her daughter phoned her and said she told Mr Ryan they were camp guests and expressed concern about his behaviour.

"She said ‘mum, he’s following us’."

As Mrs Cameron went to look for her daughter Mr Ryan confronted her, asking where she was going and became abusive and the dispute escalated, she said.

The result was her family’s holiday was cut short. They then arranged to stay somewhere else, where they were not "treated like prisoners", Mrs Cameron said.

Vincent Community Board deputy chairman and Clyde resident Russell Garbutt said the investigation needed to happen.

"This sounds like Fawlty Towers at a holiday park type stuff."

Central Otago District Council planning and environment executive manager Louise van der Voort said she had spoken to the Ryans.

They said they had experienced difficulties with camp visitors entering not following Covid-19 sign-in procedures, she said.

"Some of these people accessed from places other than the main entrance and stayed later than is permitted under camp rules, drinking and causing a level of disturbance."

The council was taking the complaints seriously.

"I will be investigating further to ensure the facility is operated as intended under the terms of the lease."

The Ryans declined to comment when contacted.

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