Rubbish time for campers
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 yet 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 solarpowered self-compacting 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 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 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
Freedom campers at Bendigo in Central Otago. The site hosted10,329 visitors between November 4 and January6.JO
Rubbish has overflowed from the new bins at the Lowburn freedom camping site, near Cromwell, since they were installed in 2017. This picture was taken last summer, but contractors are still busy clearing waste.