Freedom campers at Macandrew Bay.
A Dunedin City Council proposal to move or expand a trial
that prompted controversy when freedom campers exceeded
expectations at Macandrew Bay has raised concerns in areas on
the council radar.
The council has listed reserves in Portobello, Ocean Grove
and Harwood as possible new sites for freedom campers, in
vehicles without toilet facilities, to stop overnight.
Otago Peninsula Community Board deputy chairman Paul Pope
says campers and community children both using reserves
hidden from the road could very quickly become ''a major
But the council says the issues being raised are part of the
consultation it plans to undertake.
Mr Pope was responding to a report to a planning and
regulatory committee next Tuesday.
The report follows an issue that came to head early last
year, when a trial site for freedom campers in Macandrew Bay
proved unexpectedly popular.
Residents said more than 15 vehicles a night parked in the
area beside public toilets and a playground.
Campers were ''bird-bathing'' in the public toilet basins and
changing outside their vehicles in view of children walking
Stricter controls put in place helped the situation, after
the council erected more signs at the Macandrew Bay site and
put in place security patrols to give campers information
brochures and move them if allocated spaces were full.
The council earlier this year voted to continue the trial
until June, and will on Tuesday consider a staff
recommendation to find an alternative or additional site.
Acting reserves and recreation planning team leader Paula
Dickel said in the report the council had asked staff to
investigate further sites for next summer.
Those included five that met the criteria, which included
They were the Portobello community hall and domain sites, the
Ocean Grove domain hall and recreation reserve hall, and the
Harwood hall reserve, in Harwood.
Plans show the Ocean Grove sites were near houses, while the
Portobello and Harwood sites were less so, but in more
Mr Pope said the plan would put freedom campers into the
peninsula communities, where children played.
It just took ''one of those people with the wrong
intentions'', and ''all of a sudden we have a major issue''.
He also questioned the effect on nearby camping grounds,
which paid rates and taxes, and employed people.
''We should be encouraging local businesses.''
Mr Pope also raised concerns about consultation, and how
thorough it would be.
Ms Dickel said while a consultation plan was yet to be
developed, the council was aware from feedback from Macandrew
Bay it needed to be ''more thorough''.
Staff would work with Mr Pope to make sure the community -
especially those near the proposed sites - could be involved.
On the secluded nature of some sites, and the proximity of
others to homes, she said one of the benefits of public
consultation was to hear about those issues.
''Probably nowhere is perfect,'' she said.
There may be ways to mitigate the problems and those matters
would be considered during consultation.