Action Called for – To Get All DOC Facilities Reopened
Written by John Freer on November 19, 2023
By John Freer
Concern and frustration at the Department of Conservation with Coromandel Peninsula tracks, huts and campgrounds not operating to full capacity for the coming holiday season.
This on the back of information provided to CFM that a meeting is proposed this week regarding the future of Cathedral Cove, where only selected people are being invited to attend.
People representing Coromandel Peninsula tourist operations, businesses and accommodation providers are now questioning the continued actions of DOC on the management and the provision of facilities.
Joining the list is the Member of Parliament for Coromandel Peninsula, the Hon Scott Simpson.
Last week DOC advised that several of its campgrounds were already full over the two peak holiday season weeks. While this is not uncommon a reduction in campground capacity has significantly reduced the number of people who will visit the region.
Across three camps the total reduction is 185 people per night. As one Coromandel business owner total CFM, this is 185 people who will not now travel through her town. She added the impact of closed tracks and huts which increased the impact.
Her response – we can get one government department reopening a state highway, but we cannot get another to get campgrounds, tracks and huts back to capacity.
Colville Business Operator and Chairman of the Coromandel Colville Community Board, Gavin Jeffcoat, expressed his frustration at the reduced capacity.
Mercury Bay Business Association spokesman, Ray Van Beynen, echoed Gavin’s words. He even went as far as suggesting that DOC had been cynical in its approach to not reopening Cathedral Cove.
He used the recent felling of several trees across the cove track as a further attempt to keep the track closed rather than it being reopened.
Gavin said people he has discussed the situation with were not angry, instead they were very despondent. He said after covid and last year’s weather events, now they felt restrained and as a result were not particularly positive.
Scott confirmed the reduced infrastructure would have a negative impact on a region which had a market of some 2.5 million people at its doorstep. He also questioned the potential need for more DOC resource to be allocated to the region.
Click to listen to our interview with Scott Simpson.
Click hear to hear Gavin Jeffcoat’s views on the issue.