We are considering an application from an Otago business for a recreation permit to continue operating a waterpark on Lake Dunstan this summer.
Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) is responsible for the lakebed, and adjacent Lowburn camping area and boat ramp, on behalf of the Crown.
LINZ Head of Crown Property Sonya Wikitera says a recreation permit was granted allowing Kiwi Waterpark to operate over the 2020-21 and 2021-22 summer seasons. However, traffic safety concerns have slowed down processing the water park’s permit application for the 2022/23 season.
“The safety of all visitors, including freedom campers, to this popular recreation area is our top priority,” she says.
“We are working closely with Waka Kotahi and Central Otago District Council to assess whether risk mitigation measures may allow the waterpark to open again this year.
“We are doing our best to have an answer for the business owner as quickly as possible.”
LINZ assesses recreation permit applications for proposed use of Crown land on a case-by-case basis. This includes consulting with various third parties, assessing other activities in the area, and – if required – ensuring it has a valid resource consent from the respective local council.
Traffic concerns were raised at the Lowburn site following an assessment of traffic for the 2021-2022 summer season. The assessment report concluded that, based on the volume of traffic accessing the site, turning bays were required to ensure safe and efficient access from the state highway. The report indicated that the amount of traffic accessing the site generally is an issue, apportioning about one-third of this to the waterpark.
Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) has not suggested the area become a no-freedom camping zone, however all activities need to be considered in light of the safety issue related to the traffic.