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by Alexia Johnston

Tourism growth in the Mackenzie District has prompted a call for more toilet and rubbish facilities to cope with demand.
The issue was one of many raised by Fairlie residents earlier this week.
Anne Thomson, of Fairlie, said there was a need for increased infrastructure due to the amount of people visiting the region. It was one of the key issues people wanted addressed by candidates in this year’s election campaign.
Ms Thomson said infrastructure needed to include more toilet facilities and rubbish bins.
At the moment rubbish bins in the town were limited. Development planned for Lake Tekapo meant more people were expected to pass through Fairlie, prompting the need for more of those facilities.
Lake Tekapo resident George Empson said litter was a problem for the township and surrounding area, which proved evident during a clean-up of the area over recent days.
“[A group of people] were picking up rubbish and they got a caged trailer full in just a short period of time. That would only have been six or seven kilometres,” he said, of the distance they covered.
The items they picked up included corrugated iron and plastic bottles.
While he said it was a problem, he did not know what the answer was.
“It definitely needs addressing.”
Mackenzie region marketing executive Amy Menard said there was a need for those facilities to be developed in some towns like Fairlie, but that was not the case in her home town of Twizel.
“I feel like the infrastructure in Twizel is good. We had new toilets put in and I feel the rubbish facilities here for tourists are good.”
She said those two issues were important because they were ones people, particularly tourists, often “came up against”.
There was “definitely” benefit to building on those facilities in places like Fairlie, she said.
“They get a lot of visitors through Fairlie, especially as the [Fairlie] Bakehouse is expanding.”
Guest nights in the Mackenzie District increased 43.3% to 48,586 in July this year, compared with July 2015. International guest nights increased 42.5% to 29,970 for the same period.
The district also had a busy summer, with Commercial Accommodation Monitor statistics showing an additional 35,230 guests nights for the summer period (December 2015 to February 2016) compared with the corresponding period last year.
To help cope with growth, housing also needed to be addressed, Ms Thomson said.
“I don’t know if it’s council’s responsibility. They could facilitate a discussion around housing and how it’s addressed, especially for people working in the tourism industry.”
Mackenzie District Council has approved subdivision works for Lakeside Dr, at Lake Tekapo, which would allow commercial development to continue in the vicinity and the construction of a five-star hotel, which would also bring tradespeople to the region for work.
As part of the project, new car parks at each end of the Tekapo township were being considered, along with secondary parking for larger vehicles and a playground on the domain.
Planning was also under way for construction of new toilet facilities in the town’s main western car park and in the eastern car park.