Central Otago’s lower Manorburn Dam area is becoming a dumping ground for unwanted rubbish, spoiling what should be a pristine part of the district, a regular visitor to the area says.
Cam Dykes, who has frequented the dam for about 18 years, said cans, bottles and cars regularly littered the area.
Trees had also been felled across a walking track, which had made it unusable, he said.
“What was a nice walking track, you [now] can’t use it.”
Mr Dykes said he regularly picked up any rubbish he came across, but items such as a burned-out car had littered the area for about six months.
Another vehicle, which he believed was the result of a crash, had been abandoned in the area for years, but it was so overgrown with weeds that it was difficult to see.
“It’s real frustrating.” – Vincent Community Board member Barrie Wills
The area was a popular swimming spot among fruit-pickers in the summer and Mr Dykes hoped it would be cleaned up before the next season started.
Mr Dykes said someone had attempted to burn a pile of tyres and beer crates when part of the dam was iced over last winter.
The fire did not take and the rubbish was left on the ice.
“When it melted, it just sank into the dam. It’s just a real shame.”
Vincent Community Board member Barrie Wills understood Mr Dykes’ frustration.
Mr Wills said the area, which is a council reserve, was cleaned up by a small group of volunteers whenever they got a chance.
They received a “small” allowance each year to do the job.
A skip had also been donated to the area to help keep the rubbish under control, but some “idiots got a hold of it and tossed it in the dam”, he said.
He understood plans to remove the burned-out car were under way.
“It’s real frustrating,” Mr Wills said of the ongoing problem.
“I’m not sure what to do.”
Installing sensor cameras in the area had been considered, but decided against for fear they would be vandalised.
Mr Wills said police were notified of problems in the area to help curb the issues.
“[But] they aren’t there at the right time and you can’t expect them to be.”
He said the majority of people who ventured to the dam did respect it.
“But, 10% … mess things up for the others.”
A police spokesman said the matter was not being dealt with by police because “rubbish dumping is a local council issue”.
The spokesman said the case of the burned-out vehicle had been passed on to the council, because it was responsible for removing abandoned vehicles.