Freedom campers causing concern in Auckland

Human waste is being dumped at Auckland's newest waterfront development.

Tourists and freedom campers are causing serious health and safety concerns at Silo Park in the Wynyard Quarter, including tipping faeces and urine just a few metres from Silo Marina - the luxury site marketed as "the premier home for superyachts in the South Pacific".

Campers are also ignoring warning signs on Hamer St and Brigham St by cooking and smoking next to large storage tanks clearly marked as containing flammable substances, and are using the streets as free spots to spend the night.

Vehicles can legally park on the two streets for three hours, but Auckland Transport (AT) says enforcement signs are repeatedly torn down at a cost to the council - and ultimately ratepayers - to replace.

The breaches and health concerns have forced Auckland Council, AT and Waterfront Auckland to launch a crackdown.

This week AT parking officers began issuing infringement fines to vehicles overstaying the P180 restriction and also issued a public advisory warning that from July 20 compliance officers will be in Wynyard Quarter to address concerns that include "naked flames near bulk storage units, leaving human waste in public areas and rubbish on the streets".

Notices of bylaw breaches will be issued to anyone camping on streets.

Those who fail to comply may be issued with trespass notices and camping equipment including tents, utensils and vehicles could be seized. "As the landowner, we can say the Tank Farm on Wynyard Point is very much an industrialised area and is not suitable as a place to camp given the close proximity to flammable bulk liquid storage tanks, heavy industrial and working marine sites," a Waterfront Auckland spokesman told the Herald on Sunday.

Exposure to human waste is believed to be the reason a maintenance worker became sick, and needed a week off work last year.

The crew member had been repairing a fence when they disturbed undergrowth around a tree in an area known to be frequented by campers, and subsequently became ill.

The spokesman said the smell of human waste was "pretty strong" in areas frequented by freedom campers.

"Generally these people are not homeless, it's a lifestyle choice and they're basically living there.

"It's the best view in town - for nothing."

The Herald on Sunday visited the two Wynyard Quarter streets on Thursday morning.

About 20 campervans were parked in the area.

Among those staying overnight was Israeli tourist Shan Moto, 30, who said he was a return visitor to Hamer St where he has been using a roadside "living room" complete with a gas-powered camping stove.

Moto said he was aware of the flammable contents inside the silos just metres away from him, but said cooking there was "very safe".

"If it was dangerous to cook here it would be dangerous for you to be stood here - have some sense," Moto said.

He said he had no intention of moving on.

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