There is growing discontent among Macandrew Bay residents
about freedom campers.
Residents say as many as 30 vehicles a night have been parked
in a trial freedom camping area beside the public toilets and
playground, where tents are also being pitched around play
Campers are ''bird-bathing'' in the public toilet basins and
changing outside their vehicles in view of children walking
to school, residents say.
Macandrew Bay Residents and Ratepayers Association chairman
Dave Goodman said many mothers had stopped taking their
children to the playground because of campers.
Mr Goodman, who was contracted by the Dunedin City Council to
clean the area's public toilets, said he had to double his
efforts since the council implemented its freedom camping
Extra use of amenities was not an issue in itself, he said,
but many freedom campers were washing in the basins and
leaving the tiled floors in flood.
People were becoming wary of taking children into the public
toilets because naked campers were often washing or changing
inside, he said.
''They call it bird-bathing, using a basin to wash in. I'd
never heard of it before,'' Mr Goodman said.
''There is a growing number of residents not happy with
what's going on, mainly because of issues with behaviour and
''For people in a station wagon or saloon vehicle, to get
changed and maintain any degree of modesty is quite
difficult, and there has been issues with unclad people
running around,'' he said.
The council recently designated three trial areas for freedom
campers in non-self-contained vehicles, including Macandrew
Up to five vehicles were allowed to stay for one night under
Mr Goodman said there were usually about 15 vehicles with
freedom campers parked overnight, and the most he had counted
at once was 21.
Other residents claimed to have seen as many as 30 vehicles.
Mr Goodman had counted 11 tents - 10 of which were pitched in
''It's polarising the community.
''We are not against freedom campers per se, but there's a
growing groundswell of people getting their backs up,'' he
Macandrew Bay resident Kelli Lamare said she and many others
''There is a handful who don't seem to worry, but a lot of
people are not happy.''
Mrs Lamare said she had complained to the council and planned
to attend the next Otago Peninsula Community Board meeting on
March 6 to raise the issue.
She said her house, like many others, had not been included
in a council mail drop in the community proposing the trial,
and she missed the opportunity to oppose it.
She was one of the mothers keeping her children away from the
playground, and said there had to be a better place for
freedom camping in Dunedin.
''Macandrew Bay is a beautiful community and we feel like
we've been invaded because of the sheer number of campers.
I'm sure they contribute to the wider economy, but I don't
think they spend a lot in our neighbourhood.''