Freedom camping at Macandrew Bay. Photo supplied.
Council staff yesterday confirmed they were introducing extra signs and security patrols at Macandrew Bay, and considering opening up the Bayfield Park car park to freedom campers using vehicles without toilets.
The changes aimed to end recent problems at Macandrew Bay, when freedom campers overcrowded the car park beside Ralph Ham Park.
The area was among three across the city designated for overnight stops by freedom campers in vehicles without toilets, initially for a two-year trial, as part of an easing of freedom camping rules across the city.
The Macandrew Bay car park was supposed to cater for up to five vehicles each night, but more than 15 vehicles were found to be staying in the area some nights.
That led to tension and complaints from some residents about freedom campers pitching tents, using the area’s public toilets to wash dishes, clothes and themselves, and even defecating in private gardens.
The Otago Peninsula Community Board has also called for better policing of the area’s rules and Cr Neville Peat, a peninsula resident, tried unsuccessfully at a council committee meeting in June to have the trial halted.
Instead, councillors voted to continue the trial while investigating the potential of open up alternative or additional sites around the city to freedom campers.
Yesterday, council reserves and recreation planning team leader Richard Saunders said in a statement the council was considering opening Bayfield Park car park, in Andersons Bay, to freedom campers.
Consultation on the idea had begun, but it was not clear yesterday how long that would take, and Mr Saunders was not available for comment.
DCC moves on freedom camping