Camper van rules being enforced

Freedom campers have breakfast at the Macandrew Bay last week. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery
Freedom campers have breakfast at the Macandrew Bay last week. Photo by Stephen Jaquiery
Freedom campers have found Macandrew Bay is not a free-for-all.

Dunedin City Council parks manager Lisa Wheeler said the council was taking a sterner approach to those flouting the rules related to freedom camping after hearing the concerns of Macandrew Bay residents.

In response to the residents' concerns about campers' behaviour, the council erected more signs last week and security patrols were visiting the site four times a week to give campers information brochures and move them if allocated spaces were full, she said.

''It's my understanding we are getting a good success rate from that.''

It was reported in the Otago Daily Times earlier this month that residents said the number of campers' vehicles meant motorists' views were obscured, school buses had to double-park and no parking space was left for people using the community church and hall.

Residents also alleged campers were pitching tents in the playground, using the public toilets for washing, leaving food scraps and some were urinating and defecating in nearby bushes.

Up to five non self-contained vehicles are allowed to park overnight at designated areas in Macandrew Bay, Ocean View and Warrington.

However, between eight and 20 vehicles were parking at Macandrew Bay every night before stronger measures were taken, Mrs Wheeler said.

Otago Peninsula Community Board chairwoman Christine Garey said the measures had ''taken the heat out of the situation''.

''It seems to have assisted the situation, but also ... we have had a number of calls [from residents] who are very positive about the visitors being there,'' she said.

''We want people to know visitors are welcome in Macandrew Bay.''

Mrs Wheeler said there had been an improvement in the number of vehicles using the site and the associated demands on services since the signs went up.

''The last four or five nights has shown quite a change, so now it's just a case of seeing if that's going to continue.''

Fines could be issued if behaviour deteriorated or people flouted rules regarding the number of vehicles at the sites and how long they stayed, she said.

timothy.brown@odt.co.nz

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