Freedom camping site may be permanent

The Thomas Burns St freedom camping car park could become a permanent fixture. PHOTO: PETER...
The Thomas Burns St freedom camping car park could become a permanent fixture. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
The Dunedin centre city freedom camping site could become a permanent fixture.

A report presented to Dunedin city councillors on Tuesday proposed adding the Thomas Burns St car park, near the railway station, to its freedom camping bylaw.

Unrestricted camping vehicles, meaning both self-contained and non-self-contained, would be able to stay at the site between November and April each year.

Council parks and recreation group manager Robert West said the two-year trial of the Thomas Burns St site had proved positive, taking stress off the two other unrestricted freedom camping sites in Warrington and Ocean View.

Complaints about unrestricted camping sites had reduced by 48% during the trial.

"We saw an increase in the numbers [of campers] year on year, but complaints had lowered.

"There’s no golden egg in solving this issue. It’s around increasing security, ranger capacity and educating people."

Cr Jim O’Malley said the approach of council staff on the issue of freedom camping had been positive.

"The policy of providing space and policing has been effective, much more so than outlawing and policing."

"I would suggest urban sites work well because campers have come from isolated spaces and seemed to welcome the idea of a day in the city."

All councillors were in favour of the proposal.

The draft amended bylaw will go out for public consultation, and it was hoped the changes could be implemented before the 2020-21 camping season.

Comments

I am a fan of freedom camping in the right places but If a camper van is not truly self contained they need to be in a registered camp ground. Sleeper vans are not self contained

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