Loch Laird liquor ban again ‘huge success’

Oamaru police Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy

A liquor ban to stop bad behaviour at a popular Waitaki Valley camping ground has been a ‘‘huge success’’ for the second consecutive year.

The Loch Laird camping area was relatively tame again this year after the Waitaki District Council introduced the ban last year.

Previously, the camping ground near Otematata had been a popular area for secondary school pupils to gather at Labour Weekend, resulting in alcoholfuelled problems, including assaults, drinkdriving, disorderly behaviour and vandalism. 

The council introduced the ban, covering the top terrace of Loch Laird and extending along Loch Laird Rd to the edge of the Wildlife Reserve camp, in order to try curb the behaviour.

Senior Sergeant Jason McCoy, of Oamaru, said it had been another ‘‘huge success’’ this year.

‘‘The lakes area were enjoyed by all. No issues, no dramas and just a good holiday spot,’’ Sgt McCoy said.

However, it was disappointing two people were arrested for drink-driving in the Waitaki Valley.

A 16-year-old was arrested in Otematata-Kurow Rd on Sunday and recorded an excess breath alcohol level of 150mcg.

A 25-year-old was arrested in Loch Laird Rd the same day, and recorded an excess breath alcohol level of 390mcg. Both drivers were issued with infringement notices.

Sgt McCoy said he was unimpressed about both incidents, especially the 16-year-old who was under the legal drinking age of 18.

Aside from those incidents, it had been a great weekend for holiday-goers, he said.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said while the council wanted people to enjoy the Waitaki Lakes, safety was paramount for everyone involved.

‘‘That has meant restrictions on some activities, most notably the traditional Labour Weekend party at the lakes,’’ Mr Kircher said.

‘‘I got some very favourable feedback from campers and locals in the Otematata area who were so pleased that the usual issues over the weekend just didn’t happen this year, and that people were able to safely enjoy themselves.’’