Public denied access to camp

By Lawrence Gullery lawrence.gullery@hbtoday.co.nz

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Restricted access to the damaged Clifton Motorcamp has angered artist Averil Mucalo who was "disgusted" not to be allowed into the camp yesterday.

Ms Mucalo said she and her daughter had wanted to visit the camp but were refused entry by the camp's manager Bob Pollock. The pair had walked along the beach towards the camp.

"I thought it was a public road, the beach is a public area also, what right does he have to stop us from going in there?

"We've been in the camp before, after there's been heavy erosion without a problem, so what's the difference now?"

Ms Mucalo used to camp at Clifton regularly but now visited the popular holiday spot for her interests as an artist and photographer.

She claimed she saw other people, who were not campers, walking into the site and thought it was unfair she was denied access.

"I am disgusted and it is disgraceful. People need to know about what's happening out there. So there's been a bit more [land] chewed away by erosion, I've been there before when that's happened.

"I have been camping out there in high seas and had no problems like this."

Clifton Reserve Society co-chairwoman Dionne Thomas said there were signs at the entrance to the camp showing the road was closed.

"It is totally for safety reasons, in terms of our public liability, we don't want to put the public at risk. Parts of the road are undermined and so therefore aren't visible to the eye.

"That's why we have stopped non-campers coming into the camp. If someone was to fall off the broken edges of the road, we could be liable for putting them at risk."

Ms Thomas said police were at the camp on Saturday night enforcing the no access rule.

"We will let people know when we are back up and running, at the moment there's no access for the safety of people."

The Clifton Reserve Society was hopeful the road to the camp could be repaired if an emergency consent from either the Hastings district or Hawke's Bay regional councils was granted.

"We've had lots of concerned calls from people that the camp was permanently closing, that's not our stance at all. We are closed at the moment because of the public safety. Our intention is to get back up and running as soon as we can."

Hastings mayor Lawrence Yule agreed it was too early to say of the closure was permanent. "Unless we can find an affordable, consentable way of protecting the road, then the [Clifton] Marine Club and camp face a dire future."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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