Freedom camper trial review today

Dunedin city councillors will decide today whether to abandon a freedom camping trial at Macandrew Bay.

The issue has been referred to the council's planning and regulatory committee, which meets today, after complaints about problems caused by freedom campers next to Ralph Ham Park.

The area was identified as one of three designated overnight stops available for freedom camping vehicles without toilets, for a two-year trial, as part of an easing of freedom camping rules across the city.

The area was supposed to cater for no more than five vehicles each night, but had been hosting more than 15 some nights, a council report said.

More than 100 people attended a public meeting in Macandrew Bay to voice their concerns last month, with some complaining freedom campers were pitching tents and using the area's public toilets to wash dishes, clothes and themselves.

That prompted the Otago Peninsula Community Board to call for the trial to be scrapped after Easter, and for a new area to be trialled for the second year.

Council reserves policy and planning officer Paula Dickel's report to today's meeting outlines steps to address the unexpected influx of campers, including extra monitoring, litter collections, security patrols and new signs.

Councillors are to consider her report, which recommends continuing the Macandrew Bay trial while staff monitor the effectiveness of the changes, then reporting back to the committee in June.

Stick with your claims

JoeAverage: "Freedom campers generally have no respect for local rules or signs, here to day gone tomorrow" you say.

You are right, and I would say stick with your claims. Word of mouth and Facebook will bring in more and more if allowed. Residents of Lake Tekapo and other beautiful parts of NZ have found this to their cost. They even closed off one 'lookout spot' as it was abused and polluted by campers. Now none of us can go there.

It is your/our society and you/we must protect it.

Local consultation lacking again

The council is obviously going to continue with this trial without any local consultation, despite the majority of locals strongly against the idea for reasons well publicised.

The present control of the campers by the council (patrols, rubbish) will not be sustained and the same issues will arise next summer when the summer camping season starts.

Yesterday, a day when no patrols occurred, camper numbers were exceeded, and campers were on areas clearly signed as no camping.  Freedom campers generally have no respect for local rules or signs, here to day gone tomorrow. This is in the 'off-season' on a quiet Sunday night.The flimsy signs are already coming down and we'll be back to square one by the summer.

I am sure the issues will not rest despite the council consulting themselves and ignoring locals and Peninsula Community Board concerns and recommendations.

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