Decisive no to campers

Harwood residents (from left) Jasmine Wilson (7), Harper Wilson (5), Briar Matthews (9) and Dali...
Harwood residents (from left) Jasmine Wilson (7), Harper Wilson (5), Briar Matthews (9) and Dali Matthews (6) found this rubbish and fireplace in the domain behind Scott Hall on Monday. Photo by Jonathan Chilton-Towle.

Harwood residents want the Dunedin City Council to know ''in no uncertain terms'' they oppose freedom campers using the domain behind Scott Hall.

The area was recently identified as a potential freedom camping site.

Speaking at last week's Otago Peninsula Community Board meeting, Harwood resident Lynore White said residents held a meeting on June 17 to discuss the possibility of freedom camping. About 37 people attended.

''As a result of the discussion that was held, it was the unanimous agreement of the meeting that council must know, in no uncertain terms, that Harwood residents wish to keep things as they are.''

She was concerned freedom campers would disturb the peace and keep locals from enjoying community facilities.

''Harwood does not have the infrastructure to support freedom campers and, with emergency services being some distance away, it was felt the onus for managing freedom campers would likely fall on residents,'' she said.

She noted that the Portobello Village Tourist Park was nearby and did not believe the council should be competing with private enterprise.

Residents were also concerned about the lack of footpaths and the narrow streets in the area. There was concern a visitor driving too fast might hit a child or someone walking their dog.

Residents already had problems with people camping illegally at the domain.

Rubbish and human waste were often found in the bushes, although it was impossible to say whether campers were responsible, Mrs White said.

On Monday, children at the domain found three sites where someone had defecated, and the remains of a fire.

Council parks manager Lisa Wheeler said the results of the Harwood resident's meeting would be taken into account.

The hall's infrastructure did not allow for it to be used for the coming season due to there being no external access to the existing toilet facilities, she said.

''The site will remain an option for the future but not as a Doc-style campsite that the community were discussing.''

There were no other Otago Peninsula sites with any infrastructure ready to set up as a trial.

''As with the Harwood hall site any other sites other than Brighton Domain would require changes to buildings to provide external access to toilets and Brighton Domain is too close to an existing commercial camping ground.''


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