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.

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