No fans of 'crapper vans'
GRANT BRYANT IN QUEENSTOWN
Efforts are under way to bring a popular Kingston freedom camping spot under council jurisdiction after complaints it has become a tourist toilet.
Aucklanders Helen Holt and husband Doug stopped off at the layby about 5km north of Kingston last month and said the state of the lakeside layby left them gagging.
''There were five self-contained camping vehicles properly equipped with on-board toilets there and about eight crapper vans,'' Mrs Holt said.
''I actually saw one young woman disappearing into the bushes with a roll of toilet paper and pulled her up about it. They just don't seem to think there's anything wrong with crapping all over the most beautiful parts of our country.''
The pair believe a toilet should be installed.
Kingston Community Association chairperson Annette Dalziel said she had not had any complaints about the state of the layby from Kingston residents, but a young German couple came to her appalled at the state of the layby.
''They were quite disgusted with the state of the layby and were going to lay a complaint with the council.''
However, the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) has no jurisdiction over the layby, as under the Freedom Camping Act laybys on state highways are under the control of the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA).
QLDC has sought to take over monitoring and control of the layby from NZTA.
Council regulatory manager Lee Webster said the layby was a ''perennial problem''.
''We have in the past suggested to NZTA that they delegate responsibility for the rest area to QLDC, which would empower us to enforce the freedom camping rules there. To date, this has not met with a favourable response.''
However, the agency's Otago-Southland highway manager Ian Duncan said discussions were continuing.
''We are having some preliminary discussions with QLDC around delegating management of freedom camping on state highway rest areas in their area. There are some legal issues that need to be worked through for this to happen.
''We are also waiting for QLDC to confirm the activities they want to manage.
To deal with the amount of campers using the layby a NZTA contractor was clearing bins twice weekly instead of once weekly.
- The Mirror
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