Over flow camping will not be allowed to spill onto the Queenstown Recreation Ground this New Year’s Eve, Queenstown Lakes District, Mayor Vanessa van Uden said.
“I was approached by the Rugby Seven Tournament organisers, who relayed to me just how incompatible the two activities of camping and tournament rugby were - from there it was an easy decision to make,” Mayor van Uden said.
The recreation ground was first opened up to campers for the Millennium celebrations and the practice had continued unchecked since.
“There are other options for campers overnight that don’t put national rugby sevens players at risk,” Mayor van Uden said.
Seven’s organisers would spend days on hands and knees picking glass and metal out of the field in the wake of New Year’s campers, with the tournament kicking off in early January.
“Once I was made aware of the situation the decision was a no brainer, there is no way we can put players of that calibre at risk or that matter any players,” Mayor van Uden said.
Council was aware that New Year’s Eve accommodation traditionally reached capacity but other options were available.
“We can accommodate overflow at Arrowtown Camp Ground and there are DOC camping grounds at Moke Lake and the 12 Mile Delta, only a very short drive from Queenstown,” Mayor van Uden said.
The decision would mean that people would have to think a bit more about plans and either ensure they had a sober driver or catch a bus or taxi.
Security guards would be on duty at the recreation ground at New Year to advise would-be campers of the other options available to them.