Bus owner seeks Glenorchy park spot
Controversial campground development plans divide town
Glenorchy’s Daphne Reynolds, 69, likes the quiet life.
The retiree, originally from Southampton in England, moved to New Zealand more than 30 years ago and has lived in Glenorchy at the northern end of Lake Wakatipu for eight years.
Home is a converted 1952 Leyland house bus, with a kitchenette, log burner bedroom and two dogs, Lucy and Monty.
She lived in the old Glenorchy campground before it closed then moved on to a private property and for the past two months she has rented a space off section owners in the town, 46km from Queenstown.
Her current parking space is unavailable from this weekend and Reynolds, who lives on a pension and said she cannot afford to buy property, does not know where she is going to park. She wants to stay in Glenorchy.
The town is being confronted by a raft of changes. Dozens of submissions on controversial plans to revamp the campground have been lodged, amid a rift between locals and the wealthy American philanthropists who envisage a high-end sustainable redevelopment.
The dilapidated campground has been cleared for the proposed Camp Glenorchy project by Paul and Debbi Brainerd.
Reynolds, who battled cancer in the last two years and can no longer work, relies on her superannuation of just a few hundred dollars a fortnight. She is one of just a few people who live in house buses in Wakatipu.
‘‘[After moving] I have been trying to look for a place ever since. I’m going to have to go down to the Buckler Burn, park down there and make a stand,’’ she said.
‘‘I’ve tried everything to get somewhere to park and I’m willing to pay rent.
‘‘People who live in buses are frowned upon but this is my home and it’s all I can afford. I don’t want to go [outside Glenorchy].’’
Reynolds is not the only resident worried about foreign investment changing the town and, as some see it, the ‘‘Americanisation’’ of a quintessential South Island bolt hole.
Her family is scattered around New Zealand and overseas and her 1952 Leyland is in no condition to travel more than a few kilometres.
‘‘The town is divided. I just do not know what to do.
‘‘I have been in New Zealand for 32 years and I’m a permanent resident. I like Glenorchy. The trouble is I can see it becoming the same as Queenstown and I’m happy I can enjoy it the way it is now.’’
As for the Camp Glenorchy project, independent council commissioners will hear submissions in the next month or so and decide whether or not to grant resource consent.
Supporters reckon the Brainerds’ project will reinvigorate the town but a vocal minority have questioned aspects of the resource process, foreign investment, the scale of the development, Overseas Investment Office involvement and consultation.
Daphne Reynolds at home in her 1952 Leyland bus in Glenorchy, with Lucy, left, and Monty.
Photo: John Edens/ FAIRFAX NZ