It’s a testing time for a trial camp site beside the Red Bridge near Luggate.
Luggate Community Association committee member Graham Taylor said the site was supposed to be a trial running from mid-November until late March, but up to 40 campervans were continuing to stay at the site.
The site was originally established with help from the Government’s tourism facilities development grants fund.
It was aimed at providing free camping for about 25 certified self-contained campervans but many more had been observed at the campsite.
When a skip and two toilets were removed at the end of the trial ‘‘the place started to fill up with toilet waste’’ around the edges of the campsite, Mr Taylor said.
The Queenstown Lakes District Council installed a single toilet at the site recently, but ‘‘within a day’’ that was full and a second toilet was installed ‘‘to cope with the demand’’.
Local resident Jim Bryson has kept records of the number of campervans, visiting the site between 10pm and 10.30pm each night.
On average about 59 vans were at the site per night during the trial period, he said.
This was mitigated when toilets were reinstalled in the first week of May, but the number of campervans was still rising, Mr Bryson said.
‘ The point is it costs — and who is it costing? It costs the taxpayers and ratepayers. ,
Mr Taylor said he had a ‘‘philosophical problem’’ with having a free site.
‘‘The point is it costs — and who is it costing? It costs the taxpayers and ratepayers.’’
He suggested a ‘‘pay and display’’ system similar to that used by the Department of Conservation.
Based on the number of campervans staying during the trial period, a nominal fee of $10 dollars a night could have netted $60,000 to $70,000.
That could fund ‘‘a lot of improvements around here’’, Mr Taylor said.
A council spokeswoman said the Luggate Red Bridge site was included as an overnight hub over the summer period as part of the council’s responsible camping trials.
The camping hubs were now closed, but the site — which allowed for responsible camping in certified self-contained vehicles — was still proving popular.
‘‘Two Portaloo toilets were installed to help reduce the effects on the site and will remain there until the end of the warmer weather,’’ she said.
There was no plan to install a rubbish bin.
‘‘Campers are expected to take their rubbish with them. However, we are cleaning up rubbish from the site when it’s reported.’’
There were no plans to charge for camping at this stage, and the council was taking some time over winter to review the data and information gathered through the trials to determine its approach to managing camping next summer, she said.
After the council removed the toilets and waste skip in the last week of March, there was still an average of 40 vans a night, and a large amount of rubbish, including human faeces, began appearing at the site.