Ocean View site popular

Freedom campers at Ocean View last week. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Freedom campers at Ocean View last week. Photo by Linda Robertson.

Dunedin City Council may have to reassess the servicing of toilets and rubbish bins at Ocean View as the site has proven popular with freedom campers, Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Scott Weatherall says.

Mr Weatherall said 12 to 20 campers stayed at the Ocean View site most nights.

''Unofficially, I would call it the Ocean View Camping Ground,'' he said.

The council eased freedom camping rules in the city late last year, to allow up to five vehicles to stay for one night in the three designated areas at Ocean View, Macandrew Bay and Warrington.

No complaints had been directed to the community board as a result of the campers, Mr Weatherall said.

''What we are seeing is the rubbish bins are getting a lot more full,'' he said.

''What we are not seeing is the dumping of human waste that we might see with the more traditional freedom camping in the lay-bys.''

He was taking the lack of negative feedback as ''positive feedback'', but he needed to talk to camping ground owners and nearby residents to get a clearer picture of the situation.

''We also need to be mindful that we do have camping grounds in the area,'' he said.

''But to be fair, these people using the Ocean View area probably weren't camping in the camping grounds anyway.''

Mr Weatherall said the new rule had concentrated the freedom campers who used to be spread out across the area.

While use of the facilities at Ocean View was ''really good'', the council might need to evaluate the servicing of them, he said.

''I know the council has said it's a two-year trial, but we need to be open to feedback,'' he said.

Dunedin City Council reserves policy and planning officer Paula Dickel said the three sites had proved ''very popular''.

The community's response to the sites had also been positive.

''Most of the feedback we have been getting is that people are being responsible,'' she said.

The popularity of the Ocean View site was greater than expected.

The council was monitoring the site to ensure the servicing of the facilities was adequate, however, servicing levels ''seem to be holding up'' and the council would review the policy ''some time after April next year''.

''If there's a need to increase that [servicing levels] it will be addressed, but it's something that needs to be monitored.''

The servicing and use of the Ocean View site would be discussed at the community board meeting today, Mr Weatherall said.

Ocean View freedom camping

I am very surprised no residents have complained about the Ocean View park over spot at Brighton. Maybe I am unaware of the rules regarding vehicles staying there but the signage says five vehicles and almost every night when I drive through Ocean View there are always well in excess of the allowed number. I have seen 10 - 15 cars, motorhomes and campervans  at one time and on more than one occasion.

I have also gone there during the day and taken photos of the rubbish piled up beside an already over-flowing rubbish tin. There was also a pile of articles dumped outside the toilets (shoes, a pot and some other household items). One of the toilets was blocked and the toilet bowl was full of toilet paper and human waste. It was absolutely disgusting. 

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