Campers kicked out


The days are numbered for freeloaders camping and parking on a prominent section at the entrance to Queenstown’s CBD.

Over summer, campervan and car occupants have turned the site, at the Frankton Road/Stanley Street intersection, into an unauthorised campground.

Coach drivers and daytime commuters also park there.

Land owner Eric Zuo confirms he’ll fence the site.

“Once I get a quotation I will start to close it up.”

The Christchurch-based Chinese businessman, who bought the former Laurel Bank House section last year, reportedly for more than $3 million, says “it looks very ugly”.

“I don’t want people camping on my land.”

Zuo, who owns a travel company servicing the large Chinese visitor market, confirms Queenstown’s council has written to him about its concerns. He’s hoping to build a hotel on his property – “I would say 150 rooms” - and has discussed his plans with a Queenstown planner.

Council regulatory boss Lee Webster says he’s delighted Zuo intends clearing his property.

“I think it’s really unsightly to see that as the vision as you drive in, and see buses and coaches, vans and possibly even abandoned vehicles, tents and such things, just ad hoc-ly on that piece of land.

“I don’t think it’s appropriate, and I support what Mr Zuo is doing.”

Webster believes the trespassers are thumbing their nose at the rules, knowing the council can’t use its freedom camping enforcement powers on private land.

“It’s almost like they’re saying, ‘I know I’m going to get caught if I’m on council land, so I’m going to abuse this piece of land that is private’.”