Concern prompts change

Published on 06 September 2021

empty bottles on grass land

 The Labour day long weekend is nearly upon us, and with that comes concern about the annual pilgrimage to Loch Laird camping ground in Otematata by a high number of unsupervised young people.

The concern felt by Police, community members and Council centres around the increased risk of harm this weekend brings to many of our youth. Things have to change as it is not ok for young people to be dropped off to a remote family camping area to indulge in alcohol, drugs and the risky behaviour that we’ve seen over the years. Hand in hand with the concern about the risk of harm these young people are being exposed to is the impact on other campers, the community and the resulting damage is costly to rectify.

A taskforce of Police, Council representatives and community members have been working to identify strategies to reduce risk of harm and damage. A temporary liquor ban has been introduced for Loch Laird upper terrace area, and this adds to the one that is already in place in Otematata township. This liquor ban gives Police and tool to ensure our young people are kept safe. There will also be extra Police and security staff presence over the weekend.

Community Development Manager and Safer Waitaki Manager Helen Algar said “this action has been taken to support the wellbeing of our young people and the Otematata Community.  The aim is to reduce risk, we want our youth to enjoy the long weekend but primarily we want them to be safe.  It is really important that parents understand their responsibilities when providing alcohol to their children. Previous experience at Loch Laird evidences that there has been misuse of alcohol creating significant risk for all young people who attend.”

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