Unified camping strategy developed
Posted at 7:55am Thursday 25 Oct, 2018 | By Allison McLean firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillors will be asked today to adopt a Responsible Camping Strategy that details a list of things that Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) and its collaborators want to change about how visitors and locals camp.
The council has developed the unified strategy over the last year alongside the Department of Conservation (DOC), NZ Transport Agency, Land Information New Zealand, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Southland and Central Otago district councils.
The strategy hopes to encourage responsible and sustainable camping in all forms after residents complained about camper behaviour, including human waste, overcrowding and the use of lakes for bathing.
QLDC chief executive Mike Theelen said the strategy was a response to the "clear message" delivered by the community last year.
DOC director operations Southern South Island Aaron Fleming said the department viewed the strategy as ongoing and noted that the work needed to strike the right balance between valuing the environment, the communities and visitors.
If adopted, the strategy would provide a platform for the group to help shape sustainable change through action plans to alleviate camping pressures on the district.
The strategy outlines a total of 61 actions grouped into short- (2018-2019), medium- (2020-2023) and long-term (2024 and beyond) underneath five pillars: control freedom camping, maintain responsible camping, develop basic camping, provide a unified approach and understand demand.
QLDC yesterday announced plans for two overnight campsites - one at the Red Bridge near Luggate and one on State Highway 6 Layby near Kingston - which will provide free camping for a limited number of certified self-contained campers for a maximum of two nights.
In addition to this, two service hubs for day use, providing toilets, rubbish disposal, dump station and WIFI, will be located at Ballantyne Road and in Frankton. The council will have 12 full-time camping ambassadors based at hubs, key locations and roaming throughout the district when possible, educating campers on where and how to camp responsibly.
“It's really important the community understands these initiatives are trials. We will make sure we are agile enough to alter our approach if required. If something isn't working, we'll change it,” Mayor Jim Boult said.
“We're grateful to our colleagues at the Department of Conservation, New Zealand Transport Association, Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation and Land Information New Zealand for the support and input as we work together to strike the balance of addressing the community's concerns and providing a good camping experience for visitors.”
Boult said he believed the steps they're taking will do just that, and align with the Responsible Camping Strategy due to be considered by council today.