Ocean View camping upsets some

Freedom campers park  for the night at Ocean View about 6pm last Friday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Freedom campers park for the night at Ocean View about 6pm last Friday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

Some Ocean View residents feel freedom campers are flouting the camping rules and overcrowding a local seaside reserve.

Concerned residents contacted the Otago Daily Times saying they wanted the Dunedin City Council to enforce freedom camping rules in the area, as it was doing in Macandrew Bay.

It was reported in the ODT last week the council had taken a sterner approach to those flouting the rules related to freedom camping in Macandrew Bay and had put up more signs. Security patrols were visiting the area to move campers if allocated spaces were full.

Up to five non self-contained vehicles are allowed to park overnight at designated areas in Ocean View, Macandrew Bay and Warrington.

Enforcing the rules at Ocean View should be the ''minimum'' the council did, one Ocean View resident told the ODT.

''A sign is nothing unless it's policed,'' the man, who did not wished to be identified, said.

Up to 22 vehicles were staying overnight in the area and the area was ''absolutely all over the place'', he said.

''They are getting up, putting all their kit up . . . clothes are all over the trees, they are stripping off ... ''

He was not against freedom campers. However, he wanted the number of vehicles using the area to be kept to the five the council had agreed to.

Another resident said he felt the community had been ''relegated behind everyone else'' and was being ''literally eaten out from under us'' by freedom campers.

Not all the locals are worried about the visitors, as another resident whose house overlooks the car park said she had found the campers ''quite entertaining''.

''It doesn't worry me too much as long as they are using the toilets,'' she said.

She had ''yelled out the windows a couple of times and told campers to use the toilets'', but she believed the campers were only resorting to using the bushes because the facilities could not cope with the numbers using the camping area.

Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Scott Weatherall said those he had spoken to were ''fairly supportive of what's happening there''.

''It's almost too successful,'' he said.

However, if people had concerns he would raise the matter with the council.

Council parks manager Lisa Wheeler said the council would look at using security patrols at the site ''if any issue arises that warrants needing to send them''.

She was only aware of one complaint related to the site, but if more were made the council would assess the situation.

It was a trial and if it was found Ocean View was an inappropriate location for a freedom camping site, it could be changed, she said.


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