SDC makes changes to freedom camping sites

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ISSUES with flooding, overcrowding and a lack of toilets at Catlins freedom camping sites have forced Southland District Council (SDC) to implement changes.

At a meeting this week, councillors agreed 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 says the Weirs Beach site has been overcrowded, and there are not enough toilets for the usual 30-50 vehicles on the site each day.

“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 pull campers out in wet weather.

SDC’s community facilities team previously chose to fund the sealing and fencing of the area next to the toilets at the Waikawa site.

“It is proposed to shift the freedom camping site to this area… the direct neighbours, generally speaking, are quite supportive of the proposal.”

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

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