Residents of the Brook Valley Holiday Park are vowing to fight a council decision to close the camping ground, with some saying they will refuse to leave.
On Thursday, Nelson City councillors agreed to a proposal to close the park, and the news was hand-delivered to semi-permanent residents over the weekend.
The camping ground loses around $175,000 a year and the council says that is too much of a burden on ratepayers. They say residents can move to the council’s other camping grounds at Tahunanui Beach and in the Maitai Valley.
“While the future of the park is being looked at, we won’t be taking any more casual camping bookings,” says community services chair, Pete Rainey. “For those who continue to live there, all services and facilities will be maintained until there’s a final decision. If the time comes that we do decide to close the park, every semi-permanent resident will be offered an alternative site at the council’s Maitai Camp.”
But residents are less than impressed. Susan MacKinnon believes the council has been planning to shut down the camp for some time, and she doesn’t want to move. “None of us want to move,” she says.
“The council has said they’ll relocate us all to the Maitai. The Maitai has got really inferior facilities compared to here. I don’t think it could take an influx of people, especially in the ablution blocks, I don’t think they would handle it. You’d be looking at health problems then.”
Dave Heap says he will refuse to leave the camp if it’s closed.
“If the proposal goes ahead I’m gonna stay right here. I’ve only just decided on that. There’s a lot here that can’t leave. Some of the caravans have permanent annexes that are bolted on the side. If they go to the Maitai they’re not allowed those at all. Some caravans can’t be moved because they’ve been built on to.”
They say the lack of a bus service to the Maitai camp is also a concern, and the lack of sun at the Maitai camp.
But Pete says the final decision hasn’t been made just yet and residents will have the chance to have their say. “No one is being asked to move out of the park now. I want to stress that the council is only considering the option. There is plenty of time for semi-permanent residents, and indeed all residents of Nelson, to share their views with the council – and we’re keen to hear what people think about the idea.”
Public consultation will open on 28 March and run through to 28 April. The council will decide on the future of the park in June.