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Campsite upgrade making progress

Kiwi Camp is eight months into its contract with South Wairarapa District Council [SWDC] to make the permanent caravans at the Lake Ferry Campsite compliant with regulations, as well as improve the grounds and facilities.

The previous Campsite owner sold the site to SWDC in July last year for $300,000. The council subsequently established a contract with Kiwi Camp to manage the facility.

The contract includes working with caravan owners, tradespeople and SWDC to complete improvements.

Kiwi Camp founder Chris Wagner said the main issue was the distance between the caravan sites.

“Historically, they were set up with the right distances, but over the last 20 years, some people have put in a deck here and a shed there, and so it became non-compliant,” he said.

“I’ve done work with all of the owners, and it has been quite successful. We do have one or two people who are a bit more difficult to deal with, but I would say we are about 95 per cent of the way there.

“If the sites are non-compliant, the council is liable if there is anything like a fire or storm.”

The contract was started on July 1, 2023, and as reported by Times-Age in November, SWDC budgeted $209,000 for noncompliance work and general maintenance work.

While some of the funds were to address compliance issues, most of the money went toward maintenance work to bring the site to a clean and modern standard.

“A lot of the money went to fixing showers, painting buildings, setting up rubbish dumping areas and lots of other stuff,” Wagner said.

“While these weren’t non-compliant issues, they were still important to making the site a place people want to visit or live.”

While Kiwi Camp doesn’t have control of the $209,000 budget for noncompliance work, revenue is made from visitors and residents with which to conduct general maintenance.

“Money made from the permanent and visiting campers is used for upkeep like cutting the grass and servicing the kitchens and toilets,” he said.

The site could not be sold back in July due to regulatory issues; Wagner hopes to buy or lease the site after the current 12-month contract is up and work is complete.

He said that they have seen more than 2000 visitors since taking on the site, mostly over the summer period.

Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie
Freddie Wilkie is a journalist at the Wairarapa Times-Age; originally moving from Christchurch, he is interested in housing stories as well as covering emergencies and crime.

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