QLDC presses pause on Glenorchy CCTV to talk with locals

by Lauren Pattemore - Feb 21, 2023

It may work successfully elsewhere across the district but, for now, the Queenstown Lakes District Council has pressed pause on plans to use CCTV to check in on Glenorchy, while it catches up on talking with locals.

News of the council's attempt to implement a one-size-fits-all approach to regulating the district’s boating areas came to light earlier this month, and was meet with strong community backlash from residents at the top of the lake who didn’t feel properly consulted.

In a statement today (February 21), the QLDC explains plans for three CCTV cameras to film comings and goings at a boat ramp, jetty and carpark in Glenorchy mirror a district-wide approach to monitoring and regulation.

“The system has been funded for some years and rolled out successfully elsewhere in the district," a QLDC spokesperson says.

One of the purposes of the boat ramp camera is to help ensure boat ramp fees are paid, and footage captured by it will be monitored by the council's contracted harbour master, Cougar Security.

Similarly, the camera capturing use of the boat ramp carpark will aid investigations into complaints regarding a vessel's use on the water, enabling the boat to be tracked to the registration number of the vehicle towing it.

Without a clear explanation, GCA chair John Glover didn't see the purpose of monitoring Glenorchy car park.

The carpark camera isn't to do with enforcing (non-existent) parking restrictions in Glenorchy. 

However, it appears this information was not clearly communicated to the Glenorchy Community Association (GCA) and others in the first instance.

Rather, a courtesy-style email announcing the "upcoming roll-out" of the cameras was sent, with generic details regarding the purposes for the cameras.

It meant GCA chair John Glover, for example, initially expressed his confusion that cameras were needed to manage a carpark where the council has no time restrictions.

In an earlier interview with Crux, Glenorchy-residing councillor Niki Gladding, another recipient of the email, said the council needs to find better ways to connect with the smaller communities in the district.

Just because an approach suits one another pocket of the district, it shouldn't be assumed it will necessarily work for Glenorchy.

“I think there's a piece of work that council needs to do – and it is thinking about it at the moment – around how it operates in small communities, as opposed to maybe Queenstown or Wānaka where it's much bigger and these kinds of things are more expected.

Councillor Niki Gladding says the QLDC can do better to understand how to communicate changes in smaller communities.

“I think we (Glenorchy residents) are all quite sensitive about these kinds of changes and what they mean."

There isn’t yet a date set for the rollout in Glenorchy, and the project's been paused for now, the council spokesperson says, to allow time for the community and the council to discuss the programme in more detail.

Meanwhile, contractors are on the ground making sure people follow the rules.

“CCTV is not used as a substitute for any regulatory activity but can be a helpful tool, especially in relatively remote locations such as Glenorchy,” the council spokesperson says.

The CCTV set up costs are $9,100 and will come from the QLDC’s annual budget. 

CCTV is operating successfully at Queenstown Marina, Lake Hāwea boat ramp, Albert Town boat ramp, Clutha River, Wānaka Marina, and Eely Point boat launch area, for the same monitoring purposes intended for Glenorchy, the council spokesperson says, with both the cameras and associated signage encouraging self-compliance, the QLDC spokesperson says.

The council has also previously said the new Glenorchy cameras will monitor lake levels, with some questioning whether this is a double-up with the ORC, who's already doing this job.

But the QLDC says its cameras will serve a different function.

“The proposed CCTV is not intended to replace ORC’s detailed monitoring gauges but will provide a visual real-time ability to monitor conditions which its systems don’t provide.”

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