City council monitoring freedom campers

An influx of freedom campers at Macandrew Bay is being closely monitored by the Dunedin City Council, as part of its review of trial camping allowances.The council recently relaxed its freedom camping rules, allowing up to five non-self-contained vehicles to be parked near the Macandrew Bay public toilets overnight.

But residents says up to 30 vehicles a night, as well as tents, have been seen in the area.

Council reserves policy and planning officer Paula Dickel said the council was receiving regular reports from Macandrew Bay residents and ''interested parties'' about the number of freedom campers, which far exceeded expectations.

Ms Dickel said the council had made a monitoring form available so feedback could be formally collated.

It would be used in next year's council review of the two-year trial, she said.

Ms Dickel did not know how many complaints specifically relating to freedom campers at Macandrew Bay had been received by the council, but she said they would be considered.

Council security contractors were undertaking regular morning patrols at Macandrew Bay to move campers on, and further ''non-coercive'' responses were being considered to keep numbers down and camping to overnight only, she said.

Ms Dickel said Otago Peninsula Community Board members would work with the council next month to take a snapshot count of freedom camping throughout Dunedin to identify problem sites.

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