Campers gen­er­ate 16 tonnes of trash

Nelson Mail - - National News - Jo McKen­zie-McLean Cate Broughton

Four Cen­tral Otago free­dom camp­ing sites are buck­ling un­der the pres­sure of their own pop­u­lar­ity, with con­trac­tors clear­ing more than 16 tonnes of rub­bish in two months.

The Bendigo, Jack­sons, Cham­pagne and Low­burn free­dom camp­ing sites have not yet reached peak sea­son but vis­i­tor num­bers are up on last sum­mer at more than 30,000 since the first week of Novem­ber.

With campers comes rub­bish – 16,225kg of it. The sites were up­graded in 2017 to in­clude new toi­lets and so­lar-pow­ered self­com­pact­ing bins.

Land In­for­ma­tion NZ spokesman Coen Lam­mers said con­trac­tor Ful­ton Ho­gan was ‘‘work­ing hard’’ to stay on top of the rub­bish col­lec­tion and the clean­ing of the in­creased num­ber of toi­lets on the sites.

Ve­hi­cle coun­ters show Bendigo host­ing 10,329 vis­i­tors be­tween Novem­ber 4 and Jan­uary 6. In the week up to Jan­uary 6, 1628 stayed at the camp­site on the shores of Lake Dun­stan.

The Low­burn site was not far be­hind with 9999 vis­i­tors over the same pe­riod.

A new three-day max­i­mum stay limit and the use of se­cu­rity con­trac­tors had been suc­cess­ful at this stage of the sum­mer, Lam­mers said. Se­cu­rity staff had been ed­u­cat­ing and mon­i­tor­ing campers, and en­forc­ing the max­i­mum stay pe­ri­ods.

The re­sponse had been ‘‘over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive’’, he said.

Nearly all campers had moved on when re­quested.

‘‘One over­stayer at Low­burn In­let re­fused to leave af­ter a num­ber of warn­ings from [se­cu­rity] staff and was pre­sented with a tres­pass no­tice just be­fore Christ­mas. The is­su­ing of the no­tice went smoothly and with­out in­ci­dent.’’

Se­cu­rity had also re­sponded to com­plaints from res­i­dents over the Christ­mas and New Year pe­riod of campers at the Low­burn Com­mu­nity Hall and at Smiths Way. Both ar­eas were now part of their reg­u­lar pa­trols and no fur­ther com­plaints had been re­ceived, Lam­mers said.

Camp­ing hotspots in the Queen­stown Lakes re­gion, such as the Red Bridge camp­site in Lug­gate, have also been busy.

Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil com­mu­nity ser­vices gen­eral man­ager Thunes Cloete said the coun­cil had is­sued 485 in­fringe­ments for free­dom camp­ing be­tween De­cem­ber 21 and Jan­uary 8.

The coun­cil is em­ploy­ing 12 full­time camp­ing am­bas­sadors. All Blacks Sam Cane and An­ton Lienert-Brown flew to South­land to sup­port a dy­ing man’s last wish.

The pair at­tended a bucket list rugby match on Satur­day for Win­ton man Blair Vin­ing, 38, who has ter­mi­nal bowel can­cer.

A last-minute drama led to of­fers of help to en­sure the All Black play­ers got to the im­por­tant game on Satur­day.

South­land rugby coach Vin­ing, 38, wanted a sim­ple game with mates af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed in Oc­to­ber with stage four can­cer.

But a huge re­sponse from past and present friends and his Cen­tral South­land Col­lege First XV saw it spi­ral into a star-stud­ded event.

Or­gan­is­ers kept the ap­pear­ance of Cane and LienertBrown a tightly held se­cret un­til 3pm.

A mi­nor hic­cup in trans­port had caused some last-minute ‘‘drama’’, part­ner Melissa Vin­ing said from the game’s venue, Win­ton’s Midlands Rugby Foot­ball Park.

The flight for the All Blacks from Hamil­ton was can­celled but within 45 min­utes of post­ing about it on so­cial me­dia busi­nesses and sup­port­ers around New Zealand ral­lied to get them there.

Two he­li­copter com­pa­nies worked together to fly them from Queen­stown and then on to the field, with the stars ar­riv­ing five min­utes be­fore the kick-off.

Melissa Vin­ing said the of­fers of help were over­whelm­ing.

‘‘We’ve been dealt a re­ally rough hand but you can’t be any­thing but pos­i­tive with ev­ery­thing peo­ple are do­ing to help.’’

Blair Vin­ing’s hand-picked team took on an invitational team se­lected from a flurry of of­fers made by past and present play­ers he had played with.

A local com­pany spon­sored full team kits for both sides in­clud­ing old-school rugby shirts de­signed by Blair Vin­ing.

In ad­di­tion to the sup­port of Cane and Lienert-Brown, the game fea­tured well-known names Jimmy Cowan, Mils Mu­li­aina – who subbed for Blair – Tim Boys, Corey Flynn, Jason Rut­ledge and David Hall.

Melissa Vin­ing said a Blair Vin­ing Sports Foun­da­tion was set up late last year as Blair wanted of­fers of sup­port to go to­wards his and fu­ture col­lege teams.

‘‘He’s a very brave, coura­geous and self­less per­son.’’

A cur­tain-raiser be­tween the Cen­tral South­land Col­lege First XV and an invitational team hand­picked by Blair kicked off at 1.15pm.

An auc­tion, sausage siz­zle and black-tie event on Satur­day night all helped to fundraise for the foun­da­tion’s first goal of help­ing to pay for the first XV’s pre-sea­son tour to Queens­land in April.

Melissa said that af­ter his di­ag­no­sis Blair asked her to prom­ise his boys would make it to the tour – with or with­out him.

By the time he was di­ag­nosed the can­cer had spread to his lungs and was now also in his liver.


Above: Blair Vin­ing car­ries the ball dur­ing a farewell game of rugby with his mates. And, be­low, takes a kick.

Rub­bish over­flows from new bins at the Low­burn free­dom camp­ing site, near Cromwell.

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