Action on overcrowded Catlins camp sites

Issues with flooding, overcrowding and a lack of toilets at Catlins freedom camping sites have forced the Southland District Council [SDC] to implement changes.

Yesterday, councillors opted to remove the Weirs Beach designated site from camping apps and the council’s website, and agreed the Waikawa site had to be moved.

At a regulatory and consents committee meeting last month, a report by environmental health manager Michael Sarfaiti was presented to councillors outlining issues.

The report stated Weirs Beach had been overcrowded, and there were not enough toilets for the usual 30-50 daily vehicles.

"The solution that’s been recommended is simply to remove it from the apps to make it almost invisible," Mr Sarfaiti said at a previous meeting.

He also highlighted wet weather problems at the Waikawa site, where flooding was an issue and locals were having to retrieve stuck campers in wet weather — due to having no reception to phone a tow truck.

Council decided to amend the Freedom Camping Bylaw 2015, so the self-contained designated site in Waikawa would be moved from the existing site to the new sealed area beside the toilets.


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