Toilets to erosion broached

Unless there are signs expressly forbidding it, the Freedom Camping Act allows camping in public places, with no designated time limit. Photo: Peter McIntosh
Unless there are signs expressly forbidding it, the Freedom Camping Act allows camping in public places, with no designated time limit. Photo: Peter McIntosh
The need for extra facilities for freedom campers, improved maintenance of gravel roads and fears about coastal erosion were among issues brought up by Dunedin's community boards yesterday.

All six community boards made submissions at annual plan hearings yesterday and many issues were raised repeatedly.

Waikouaiti Coast Community Board Gerrard Collings was concerned the $75,000 proposed in the annual plan to investigate the effects of erosion in areas outside Ocean Beach would not be enough, given the threat it posed and the extent of coastline in Dunedin.

Given the problems the Waikouaiti area had with freedom camping over the summer, the board wanted an assurance the council would encourage freedom camping in the city and also provide adequate facilities, Mr Collings said.

If the council prohibited freedom camping, it would probably just hide the problem, rather than solving it.

In response to questioning from Cr Neville Peat, he said it had become apparent there were not enough toilets, and facilities at Warrington Domain were ‘‘woefully inadequate''.

A small amount of investment, including installing cold shower facilities, would benefit the whole city by encouraging tourism and providing facilities locals could also use.

Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Scott Weatherall raised similar concerns about erosion and freedom camping.

The council should investigate providing other options for freedom camping in the area, due to the pressure on toilets at Ocean View.

It was also concerned about erosion, saying there was a need for action soon, as some roads in its board area were under threat of falling into the ocean.

However, the issue he gave the highest priority was road safety. The intersection of Allanton-Scroggs Hill Rd and Scroggs Hill Rd, where cars regularly left the road, was a particular area of concern.

It was not good enough to wait for a death, as had been the case with Blackhead Rd.

‘‘It took a double fatality for anything to happen.

‘‘That's just not good enough.''

There was also a need for better maintenance of gravel roads in the area and he called for the reintroduction of the city's programme to increase the number of sealed roads.

Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board chairman Bill Feather and member Sarah Nitis asked for increased investment in Mosgiel's infrastructure and additional focus on economic development.

Mr Feather said it was appropriate to spend money investigating groundwater and sea level rise, but this should not come at the cost of investing in existing infrastructure.

Investment in Mosgiel's arterial routes, especially Riccarton Rd, could not continue to be delayed.

Strath Taieri Community Board chairman Barry Williams called on the council to maintain the level of service it provided maintaining gravel roads, saying they had deteriorated in recent times.

The council could extract gravel from the Taieri River, which would save money while reducing flooding risk at the same time, Mr Williams said.

He also wanted funding for the Middlemarch swimming pool increased from $10,000 to $20,000 per annum.

Otago Peninsula Community Board members Edna Stevenson and Paul Pope raised a number of issues, including the board's support for the Dark Skies project aimed at increasing visibility of the night sky and asked for the council to carry forward its $50,000 funding for a breakwater at Te Rauone beach.

Mr Pope said the community was very happy with the way the council was policing freedom camping.

He also brought up the option of installing a long-drop at Sandfly Bay, where the lack of a toilet had been a problem.

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