A set of new rules has been introduced for the Albert Town Campground in an effort to wipe out unruly behaviour over the Christmas holiday period. Most notably - and in line with other campsites in the area - bookings will now require a minimum age of 21 years, with the exception of families travelling together, from December 20 to January 5.
Campground manager Rudi Sanders said that he wanted to reinstate the campground as a “family holiday park,” where families could enjoy themselves “without having to worry about racing cars and drunken behaviour.”
The final straw for the campground had been an incident last summer where a seventeen-year-old boy had to be revived by first responders after his heart stopped from taking alcohol and drugs in the heat.
“We can no longer justify having those large numbers of young people gathering in a holiday park like this where we cannot control the boundaries,” said Sanders. “I don’t want to have it on my conscience to have a young person die here.”
The Wānaka Community Board (WCB) confirmed board members were “happy with the proposed changes” for the two-and-a-half week period, which included a ban on glass bottles, spirits and off-road motorcycles, and a limit on the number of young campers at the Albert Town site, as well as a family-only policy, a ban on non-resident cars, and an access gate to control traffic on the Hāwea River side of the campground.
Following an increase in unruly behaviour in Wānaka over Christmas and New Year - with police dealing with groups of up to 500 young people on the lakefront on the nights before and after New Year's Eve over the last two years - prevention plans are also being developed in town to keep young people safe.
“Council officers are currently working with Police, St John, Red Frogs and the Community Board to plan for this year’s upcoming holiday season and ensure everyone is able to safely enjoy the Christmas and New Year festivities,” said a WCB spokesperson.
Read edition 993 of the Wānaka Sun here.