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Source: Department of Conservation

Date:  12 December 2023

The camp and other accommodation facilities have been closed since August after early geotechnical findings found there was a risk heavy rain could trigger more landslides and debris from a June landslide, into the path of the accommodation facilities.

The Department of Conservation (DOC) and the Deep Cove Trust have been working with expert engineers to better understand the risk and are now able to reopen the hostel building.

DOC Operations Manager for Te Anau, John Lucas, says the comprehensive new findings show that with the right measures in place, the camp can once again invite guests to stay overnight.

“Safety is the top priority for both DOC and the Trust. Now we have a more complete picture of the risks, we can look at what mitigations might be possible. In this instance the highest risk is during periods of heavy or extreme rainfall. What that means is the Trust will have safety plans in place to restrict activities in and around the hostel when there’s a MetService red rainfall warning in place.”

Deep Cove Trust chairman Mike MacManus says the hostel is thrilled to be able to welcome overnight guests back.

“For many Otago and Southland people Deep Cove Camp has rated as their most memorable camp and has been a rite of passage for over 50 years, and it was with great sadness that we announced the temporary closure of the facilities back in August. However, with the information on hand, we couldn’t offer with certainty that the facilities weren’t going to be significantly affected by another event. Now with new in-depth information to hand we can plan ways to safely host people here once more.”

While the hostel can be reopened, the findings show there is still further work to be done for the other facilities such as the managers accommodation, Wilmot Lodge and the Tree House and they remain closed.

The Trust will work directly with schools around their bookings for the new year and ensure the new safety plans are well communicated with all involved.