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Tough time for campsite

Carterton Holiday Park owner Sharrie Gibbons said there would usually be five or six family tents pitched on the grass behind her. PHOTO/ALEYNA MARTINEZ

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Carterton Holiday Park owner Sharrie Gibbons said it had taken less than two weeks to lose more than $15,000 in bookings during the covid-19 lockdown.

“It is a big loss, but at these times, you’ve just got to go with it,” Gibbons said.

Event cancellations like the National Drag Racing Championship, a dog show, a model aircraft event and other Easter activities have contributed to the loss of business for Gibbons and other parks across Wairarapa.

At present, some park residents have sold houses and are in between buying new properties or sections.

“The self-contained units are where we make the money and that’s where it’s mostly gone from,” Gibbons said.

Carterton Holiday Park have self-contained units which include a toilet, shower and cooking facilities.

Since the lockdown, the park only had to amend their laundry rules.

“One in there at a time and one out – they need to take their own disinfectant to spray everything they’ve touched and wiped,” Gibbons said.

A staff representative from Mawley Holiday Park in Masterton said he was worried about younger campers in the “pseudo self-contained” camper units.

“When they need toilets and showers, we can’t help them,” the worker said.

“I think council is pulling out their hair because these are people that have just fallen through the cracks.”

Mawley Park’s focus is protecting those already in the park.

“We’re not taking anyone who doesn’t have a fully self-contained vehicle cause we’re not able to offer isolated facilities.”

Wairarapa A and P Clareville Campground is not taking new campers. About six to eight caravans containing a few couples but mostly singles, who were there at the beginning of the lockdown, have been allowed to stay.

Campground secretary Catherine Lord said no new people could come on to the site at all, and if residents need to be picked up to get groceries, they have to meet their ride at the gate.

Lord said their loss in one week looked closer to $20,000 because they were also losing income from grounds-booking cancellations which were now “non-existent”.

“The horse show that was cancelled last weekend would have had about 300 horses and would have been a good fundraiser,” Lord said.

“I don’t think it’s just going to be four weeks. I am in a lifestyle block myself so I can go outside, but I do really feel for people in apartments who can’t get outside.”

The Martinborough TOP 10 campground posted on their Facebook page that the park was temporarily closed.

They wrote: “After a busy summer we will be taking this opportunity to catch up on gardening and maintenance so that we are ready to welcome you back.”

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