City has 'too many camps'

00:00, Mar 25 2014

The Nelson City Council has released a report on its proposed closure of the Brook Valley Holiday Park which says "it would seem that Nelson's needs do not extend to three council-owned camping grounds".

But the report, supplied to the Nelson Mail after a request under the Official Information Act, has been heavily edited.

Chief executive Clare Hadley said she had removed material "that does not relate to the Brook, and for which I believe good reason to withhold remains".

The excised information Mrs Hadley has identified in the edited report includes section 5.4 and all five paragraphs of section 6, all under the heading "Brook Valley Holiday Park", as well as four paragraphs from section 4, which gives the background to the report.

It was considered in the public excluded section of the community services committee meeting on January 28, and contains the statement that in 2010 the Brook camp was transferred back to the direct control of the council "on the basis that it was running at a loss".

However, figures supplied to the Nelson Mail by Tahuna Beach Camp Inc which held the lease until 2010 show that it made a small profit each year. Board members have said they wanted to renew the lease for six years, but handed the camp back to the council when only offered a one-year renewal.


Mrs Hadley's report to the committee says that closing the camp would potentially increase the revenue stream for the Maitai Valley camp and the Tahunanui Beach camp, both owned by the council and operated under lease.

It says a closure "would not compromise the ability of campers to find a site in Nelson city". The committee recommended that the council agree in principle to close the Brook camp and undertake appropriate consultation "subject to the receipt of an acceptable exit strategy presented to [the] council on February 27".

Mrs Hadley reported again in the public excluded section of the February 27 meeting of the full council, recommending that it confirm the proposal to progressively close the Brook camp and begin consultation with the public and the semi-permanent residents.

She confirmed that the Maitai camp operator was receptive to taking the Brook residents and had the capacity, although a grey water system might be required, with no costing sought.

Residents would be allowed to put up a lean-to and have a garden at the Maitai camp, but no permanent structures would be permitted, and all vehicles would have to be "compliant" before arrival.

This report set out the strategy for breaking the news to the residents.

It notes that police, Housing NZ and other agencies would be told in advance, and that the Brook Waimarama Sanctuary Trust would be advised on the decision and invited to meet once the process was under way.

The issue would be "fully consulted alongside the Annual Plan process" as required in the Local Government Act, as the Brook camp was listed as a council strategic asset, Mrs Hadley said.

She concluded that "there are more camping grounds in Nelson City than demand requires" and that all the Brook's residents would be offered the opportunity to relocate to the Maitai camp.

The day after the report was considered, residents were visited by council staff members with a letter outlining the closure proposal.

The Nelson Mail