The Department of Conservation will not close its 30-site Ahuriri River Bridge Campsite while it waits for a fit-out to relieve the pressure from freedom campers.

And the Omarama Residents' and Ratepayers' Association will not take a seat at the table of the Mackenzie and Waitaki Basins Responsible Camping Strategy Working Group — at least until after its short-term $548,000 strategy for the coming summer is implemented.

This comes after the association published survey results showing 86% of respondents wanted the association to have a voice on the camping working group and 63% wanted the camping ground closed until Doc installed its new toilet and fencing at the campsite.

Mackenzie District Council community facilities group manager Garth Nixon told the Otago Daily Times the camping working group — comprising representatives from the Mackenzie District Council, Waitaki District Council, Doc, Land Information New Zealand and the NZ Transport Agency — decided "weeks ago" that for now the association's representation on the group would be through Waitaki District Council staff and the local community board.


"As the responsible freedom camping group moves forward after establishing the initial programmed work, [they] plan to establish a reference group made up of interested groups, which could include, among others, the Omarama residents association," he said.

A Doc spokesman said there were no plans to close the site.

"The new toilet and fencing will be installed before Labour weekend ahead of the upcoming summer season when the site gets busier. Doc rangers are monitoring the camp site and there are no current concerns with overnight camping."

Association chairwoman Ann Patterson said she was not surprised by either the results of the survey or the response from authorities.

"The problem has been there [Ahuriri River Bridge] for two or three years and nothing has happened," she said.

"We don't want to sit back any longer and wait.

"They don't seem to take on the impact it has on the locals, and they don't want the locals to be involved. But the locals, they're the people on the ground, they see the issues. And the issues affect them."