16 August 2018
Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis yesterday announced that the Central Otago District Council (CODC) will receive $297,000 of funding to help manage the impacts of freedom camping during the 2018/19 peak summer season. This funding is part of a national round of $8.5 million recommended for immediate actions by the Responsible Camping Working Group.
The Government funding towards short-term solutions for issues around the Central Otago region this season is much appreciated. The funding is part of a range of options the CODC is discussing on responsible camping with our neighbouring regions and key stakeholders.
"Challenges remain in finding the best way to manage the impact of campers here in Central Otago. We need to balance the opportunities that come from having these visitors and ensure they enjoy and respect our place. This significant funding provided by Government will go a good way towards helping us achieve this in the short term," said Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan.
"The recommendations of the Responsible Camping Working Group, of which I am privileged to be a part, provide very solid ways forward in the longer term to get a nationally consistent regime of regulations that will address many of the concerns people have had over a number of years."
CODC staff have worked closely with Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), as the primary landowner around the shores of Lake Dunstan, to identify the areas for physical improvements, management and monitoring. The funding is specifically for monitoring and compliance plus additional toilets at Bendigo, improved signage, vehicle counters and fencing at three sites at Lake Dunstan (Bendigo, Lowburn and Champagne Gully).
The monitoring and compliance will focus on the whole of the Lake Dunstan and other key camping and recreational sites in Central Otago. Details on the implementation of this work are being confirmed with key stakeholders and will be designed to complement work by the Queenstown Lakes District Council, Southland District Council and in the Mackenzie/Waitaki.
CODC Chief Executive Sanchia Jacobs said that in Central Otago camping is not just a tourism issue but is also directly linked to growth in our horticultural and viticulture industries.
"Together as council, industry and community we need to find long term solutions for accommodating seasonal workers and visitors to support growth in those sectors.
"Tourism Central Otago, as part of the recently adopted Tourism Strategy, will develop a tourism master plan that anticipates tourism growth, infrastructure investment needs and potential commercial opportunities for developing new camping facilities."