The Dunedin City Council have announced plans to develop a “DoC style” campsite on the Peninsula. In a report in The Star on the 2oth of June a Council spokeswoman announced that the City Council was investigating sites on the Peninsula, but would not name the sites. In an unusual statement the City Council spokeswoman was quoted as saying “It is not something we are going to do secretly and decide…” Now the question here is if its not a secret and the City Council wanted the process to be “fair and let people know they were considering it” why would the Council not provide the community with all of the relevant information now? Clearly it is a secret and it begs the question of how this proposal might affect community use and recreation on public reserve land for the Peninsula community in the future.
The pressures on the business community to actively ensure that their enterprises are viable in the present economic climate are immense. It’s difficult to fathom why the City Council would explore such an enterprise when it will no doubt unduly affect local accommodation businesses like that of Sherryl and Kevin Charles in Portobello. What’s even more difficult to understand is why the City Council wish to compete in the accommodation marketplace? Surely if the demand for an additional campsite was required then those with the funding, land and enterprise in the private sector would undertake to develop such a project. To date private sector investment of that type has not been realised. The City Council will be creating a subsidised accommodation business without having to pay a mortgage, rates or development costs. That’s a distinct financial advantage and one that competes directly with the private sector.