The Dunedin City Council wants to stick with a two-year
freedom camping trial at Macandrew Bay at least for now,
despite the concerns of some residents and the Otago Peninsula
Councillors at yesterday's planning and regulatory committee
meeting voted to continue the trial at least until June, when
council staff are due to report back to the committee again.
That would show the impact of recent changes to signs and
other measures, introduced following public complaints,
designed to keep down the numbers of freedom campers stopping
in the area.
Staff would also report on options to introduce additional
trial sites next summer, after councillors worried having
just one site on the peninsula had concentrated problems in
The decisions - subject to full council approval - came
despite a plea from community board chairwoman Christine
Garey, who urged councillors at yesterday's meeting to end
the Macandrew Bay trial.
The area beside Ralph Ham Park was designated as one of three
overnight stops for freedom camping vehicles without toilets
during the trial, as part of an easing of freedom camping
rules across the city.
It was supposed to cater for up to five vehicles each night,
but more than 15 stayed some nights, prompting complaints
about campers' behaviour.
The board last month recommended the council end the
Macandrew Bay trial at Easter, and find a new peninsula
location to resume the trial in October.
Mrs Garey told yesterday's meeting that ''categorically''
remained the community's view, and any move to open up
additional trial sites on the peninsula would ''simply spread
She believed the real solution would be to develop a new
Department of Conservation-style camping ground on the
peninsula - something that was to be considered by the
council, but not until next year.
Earlier, council reserves policy and planning officer Paula
Dickel said there had ''clearly'' been issues at Macandrew
Improvements, including extra monitoring, rubbish collection
and new signs, were helping, but more time was needed to
assess the impact of the changes, she said.
Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull - a peninsula resident - agreed the
situation had improved.
No more than five vehicles now parked in the area at one
He supported continuing the trial.
However, Cr Neville Peat - also a peninsula resident - said
the problems stemmed from a simple case of ''location,
''We have placed a trial site in the middle of a village ...
this is within a community and we have seen the reaction to
it,'' he said.
He suggested the council go further by identifying extra
peninsula sites to expand the trial, to be implemented by
October, while Cr John Bezett asked for other sites around
the city to be considered as well.
Cr Andrew Whiley voted against the move, saying the council
should be supporting the city's established camping ground
businesses rather than offering ''freebies'' to freedom
Cr Richard Thomson said he would agree with Cr Whiley's
stance ''if it worked'', but it wouldn't, as some freedom
campers would never pay for a night in a camping ground.
''We just need to get real about that ... What we are trying
to do is control the affects of that.''