Freedom camping hot spots a worry

Freedom campers vie for space in the Warrington Domain, north of Dunedin. Large numbers stopping...
Freedom campers vie for space in the Warrington Domain, north of Dunedin. Large numbers stopping at Katiki Beach are also causing problems. Photo by Peter McIntosh.

A "major problem'' with freedom camping along Katiki Beach was highlighted at this week's Waihemo Community Board meeting.

Waitaki district councillor for the Waihemo ward Kathy Dennison raised the issue and said far too many people were camping in cars and vans along Katiki Beach and there was too much mess.

The problem had been around for a long time and ratepayers were having to pay for it as more people used the freedom camping sites, Cr Dennison said.

Despite a toilet being provided at one roadside site by Katiki Beach, some freedom campers at that site still "went to the toilet'' in the bushes.

Waitaki district councillor Melanie Tavendale was concerned about freedom camping "hot spots'' at the Moeraki Boulders public access road and at Hampden Beach.

The issue would be on the council's agenda on June 22 and public submissions would be sought after that, she said.

The council was preparing a camping bylaw, Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said.

"There is a lot of work to be done on what is a rather emotional topic for many people.''

Freedom camping was "a huge concern to us all'', board chairman Geoff Foote said. Local government "got landed with this job [of regulating freedom camping],'' he said.

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