Former carpark may host campers

By John Cousins

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The former Mount Cosmopolitan Club carpark could become a one-off New Year's Eve parking spot for campervans following an influx of people with nowhere to stay.

The problems caused by people who descend on Mount Maunganui on December 31, thinking they will be able to find accommodation, was highlighted by Aegis Security owner Heather Jones.

She told Friday's debriefing of the council's summer activity task force that some campervans and mobile homes had parked overnight on the old carpark because they felt safe.

Mrs Jones' idea to formalise the arrangement on the council-owned carpark will be considered for next summer.

She also suggested temporarily reopening the former Mount i-Site in Salisbury Ave for three weeks during the Christmas-New Year period, because of the constant stream of inquiries Aegis staff received from people wondering where it was.

Mrs Jones said the i-Site was still advertised in publications as being in Salisbury Ave, even though some of its functions had been transferred to the Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park's office.

She praised the council's information passports as being a godsend for her staff.

Security staff also noticed a lot of crowd issues at the crowded Burger King corner in Mount Maunganui, with pushing and shoving. Senior Sergeant Lew Warner said that if Burger King was a licensed premises, it would not get away with it. "They use us as security," she said.

Council solid waste engineer Murray Kliskey said Burger King and McDonald's on Maunganui Rd were the worst areas for litter. "They were diabolical," he said.

The council contractor picked up 14 tonnes of loose litter city-wide from November to January, most of it light material such as paper and plastic.

"That tells you that this has been a busy summer."

Western Bay police area commander Inspector Clifford Paxton said the 97 arrests on New Year's Eve was a substantial reduction on previous years, although he was concerned about the number of serious assaults and the fatal stabbing.

"While isolated, it is a cause for concern," Mr Paxton said. He added the number of disorderly house parties at Papamoa was another area of concern.

The Exodus reggae festival went reasonably well, but with police concerned about people pre-loading on alcohol before they entered the event and the high levels of intoxication and drug use. "On the whole, it went reasonably well," Mr Paxton said.

He said the crowd on The Strand was reasonably well behaved and New Year's Eve was not too dissimilar to a normal Friday and Saturday night.

The council was asked to look at installing more lights in the Mt Drury playground, which was described as being "incredibly dark" for the large numbers of people passing through it.

Baylines Coaches business manager Jeanette Proctor said there had been a big improvement on the huge amount of damage caused to buses by New Year's Eve revellers in previous years.

"People were really well behaved," Ms Proctor said.

She said it was a reflection on the type of people and that they were no longer transporting large numbers of youths from one particular holiday park.

She was referring to the Papamoa Village Park in Parton Rd, which has changed its approach to how it ran its business during the New Year period.

A suggestion that the fireworks display on the Tauranga side of the city shifted from The Domain to The Strand waterfront looked unlikely to gain much traction, because it would mean the city's western suburbs would lose their good view of the fireworks.

Mrs Jones suggested having one display for the whole city, such as on top of a container crane.

However, this was opposed by police who did not want anything that would draw the crowd away from the Main Beach.

Tauranga events delivery manager Penny Mitropoulos said the council's budget for the New Year event had not increased since 2001 and she would like it raised to pay for more lighting, security and buses.

Council business services manager Dean Riley will make a staff submission to the 2013-14 annual plan.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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