Freedom campers flocking to reserves

A sign at Ocean View Recreation Reserve. Photo by ODT.
A sign at Ocean View Recreation Reserve. Photo by ODT.
A trial of a new freedom camping policy at three sites around Dunedin, including the Ocean View Recreation Reserve, is also attracting tenters at the latter.

Community boards in the trial area were this month asked by the council how they thought the trial was going.

Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Scott Weatherall said since the reserve had become a trial site it had become very popular and the car park was at its maximum.

On one day he had seen a dozen campervans, eight stationwagons and two tents sited there.

The sign which said a maximum of five campervans were allowed at any one time had been used to dry washing, Mr Weatherall said, and tents were pitched in the reserve about four days a week.

Dunedin City Council parks manager Lisa Wheeler said the council would move tents on if there was a complaint or any concerns about the activity. However, board member Keith McFadyen said he fully supported campers who pitched a tent.

''I think it's fantastic.''

A family struggling financially should be allowed to camp and not have to pay the expensive fees at a camping ground, he said.

Councillor representative Cr Andrew Whiley disagreed.

''Freedom camping to me is in a vehicle - it's not tents.''

It was agreed the situation should remain as it was, with council staff ready to move tents on if a complaint was made.

The board would monitor the site and regularly report to council staff.

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