Delta pound: A map showing the temporary car pound on Shotover Delta PICTURE: QLDC/GOOGLE

Queenstown’s abandoned car problem is so acute, the council is setting up a temporary pound on a popular river delta.

“Early next week we’ll be setting up a temporary holding site for abandoned vehicles on the Shotover Delta near the existing green waste site,” reads a council Facebook post this morning.

“This will allow us to work through the backlog of abandoned vehicles around Queenstown.

“We expect it to take at least a few months to clear the backlog of vehicles. Once this is complete we will be better placed to manage abandoned vehicle numbers within the existing car pound on Gorge Road.”

While the holding site won’t be fenced, there will be clear signage and CCTV in the area.

Principal enforcement officer Antony Hall told Mountain Scene back in November the pound can store about 40 cars.

The council had towed more cars in the first five months of the financial year (July-November) than it had in the full previous financial year – some 178 compared with 161.

“It is hard to know how many are out there,” he said.

“However, we’re lucky to have a community who actively let us know when they come across any abandoned vehicles.”

The vehicles, generally abandoned by backpackers when they leave the country, often with hopeful ‘for sale’ signs on them, have “little or no value”.

Hall said in November the council is “comfortable with the way the issue is handled at the moment.”

The pound was recently extended but still can’t cope with the number of vehicles being abandoned.

There are no particular hotspots, Hall said, but he encouraged residents to report them, stating location, make, model, colour and rego.

“We’d like to remind car owners that they can arrange to have unwanted vehicles collected often at little or no cost by tow companies.”

A vehicle is considered abandoned when it has been left in a Council controlled area and any of the following four scenarios apply:
– evidence of a vehicle inspection and a licence label affixed to it, but each document has expired by more than 31 days; or
– evidence of a vehicle inspection affixed to it that has expired by more than 31 days and no licence label affixed to it; or
– a licence label affixed to it that has expired by more than 31 days and no evidence of vehicle inspection affixed to it; or
– neither an evidence of vehicle inspection nor a licence label affixed to it.

If the vehicle meets the above criteria then the vehicle will be towed.