Camping ground options considered

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The meeting regarding the future of the Waitaki Lakes Camping held in Otematata was a hit with about 75 people attending the meeting on Wednesday.

It was a meeting to find out more about the council’s proposal to have the camping sites handed over by a private enterprise.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said they were looking at all options.

“If we are to agree to private management, the council and I would agree to it with several strict guidelines.”

Mr Kircher said they want the ability to be able to continuing Kiwi style camping where possible, which doesn’t have a lot of facilities and is can be enjoyed at a reasonalbe cost.

“I feel with the right people camp costs could in fact go down. Private enterprises don’t have the same costs,” Mr Kircher said.

“We want to see good numbers use the camp sites. The benefit to our communities is to those Waitaki people who use the camps and to the businesses and residents of the Waitaki Valley communities and it’s important that a good number of people keep using the camps.”

Ratepayers subside camping activity in the area by between $25-$125,000 each year.

Lyndon McLay and his family are frequent campers at Loch Laird and he said it would be sad to see the private enterprises takeover the campsite and ruin what people enjoy.

“Twenty five per centĀ of the camping area which is located down the bottom near the lake is fantastic and doesn’t need anything done’ it keeps the Kiwi Camping style, where as the 75 per cent up in the paddock is not that sheltered and often left for teens.

“It would be a fantastic area to do up, and I feel if we didn’t get our say then the wrong area would get done up.”

Mr McLay said dropping the prices also isn’t the issue.

“We’d all be happy to pay double or even a bit more if it was going to keep the site the same, if it’s income from the camp sites they’re concerned about.”

Public have until January 23 to express the points around the issue.

By Brayden Lindsay