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By Eric Pyle, Chief Executive
Over the past few months the Commission has been exploring access-related issues in the Mackenzie, Waitaki and Queenstown Lakes districts. It is clear that the demand for and provision of access is changing in response to tourism pressures.
The tradition of asking for access is now no longer practical or feasible in some areas. This aspect of access culture does not work for some landholders who may receive hundreds ort even thousands of phone calls each year. Asking for access is particularly complicated for tourists both foreign and domestic.
In the high use areas of New Zealand it is clear that people wanting access and those granting it need systems clearly defined access routes, clear rules about behaviour, and the ability to temporarily restrict access for fire risk, lambing etc.
People want more than just defined access, they also need good facilities. Car parking, toilets, signage and more. Where there is good access to the outdoors, particularly close to population centres, this access is heavily used. Heavy use requires good facilities.
In some of our tourist areas our access infrastructure is now in deficit after being in surplus for many decades. New Zealand is playing catch up. New access opportunities are needed together with the infrastructure needed to support this access. Infrastructure associated with existing access needs upgrading in some areas.
Catching up does not mean catching up with the here and now. With significant annual growth in numbers, â€œcatching upâ€