Campsite above board – for now


A makeshift campsite at Lake Hayes’ southern end is causing a stink.

City Hall investigated the eyesore plot, which includes a caravan, shed and outdoor loo, after an allegation it contained an illegal long-drop.

It doesn’t, council regulatory boss Lee Webster says.

The caravan, on 2270 square metres of private land owned by Dale Hunter, is wedged between a Department of Conservation marginal strip, State Highway 6 and council land.

Several agencies have had a nosy at the pop-up plot, leased by a private tenant, to check everything is above board.

Council looked at health and sanitary issues in April after a complaint from the public. Several disgruntled folk also contacted Mountain Scene.

Webster: “There is no long-drop. There is a cassette toilet, like you would have in a freedom camping vehicle, but it is within a tin shed with flooring.”

There are strict guidelines around poo disposal and the tenant is doing so legitimately, he adds.

Issue two is the mish-mash of structures.

Once again the tenant is in the clear as temporary buildings don’t need resource consent. Webster accepts that some people may consider it an eyesore.

But he says the council’s hands are tied, unless he stays put for over 12 months.

If so, it will look at it again and ultimately a decision could go to court to determine what constitutes “longer term”.

“While it is not to everyone’s taste, and I certainly understand the frustrations and concerns of some of the community, this individual has been very cooperative and appears to be working and operating within the requirements of the legislation.”

The tenant - who didn’t want to comment - isn’t squatting.

The council confirmed with Hunter’s family that everything was legit.

The initial council inspection sparked concern it might be encroaching on DoC land.

Queenstown ops boss Geoff Owen: “He is actually located on a private section therefore we have no role to play. If he was in the marginal strip we would have something to say.”

The entrance to the temporary camp is off State Highway 6. NZ Transport Agency media boss Frances Adank says it meets access requirements.

Webster stresses the council will continue to assess the situation but says the man isn’t planning on staying long term.

Mountain Scene couldn’t contact Hunter, who is holidaying overseas.

Son Craig didn’t want to comment on his dad’s affairs.