Calls to block proposed toilets for freedom campers

Calls to block proposed toilets for freedom campers

Caption: Paul Yardley’s vista view has been replaced by freedom campers. BY NICHOLAS POINTON

A proposed $300,000 toilet block for freedom campers in Evan’s Bay earlier is strongly opposed by Northern Ward Councillor Malcolm Sparrow.

“I have been lobbying for some time at the request of residents in Linden, in the northern part of Tawa, for public toilets to be built,” said Sparrow.

“The council has been saying no, they’ll cost $300,000 yet here we are spending $300,000 primarily for the benefit of freedom campers who don’t pay any rates and yet we are denying them to rate-paying citizens in Linden.

Sparrow said he would struggle to look Linden residents in the face if he had voted for the toilets at the freedom camping site in Evans Bay.

Sparrow was the only councillor to oppose the recommendations made by the city strategy committee in its review of the Public Places Bylaw.

A member of the Linden Good Neighbours Club said, “Why should the freedom campers have [toilets]? They poo everywhere anyway don’t they?”

The Linden resident said there had been instances where members of the community had urinated or defecated in public spaces.

“It must have been last year, someone pooed right out the door [of the Linden Community Centre].

“They really need toilets in Linden. They use the back of the social centre to wee, it’s not good enough.”

Evan’s Bay resident Paul Yardley said the toilets would be a “chronic waste of money” because the freedom campers were supposed to use the toilets in their vehicles.

The New Zealand Standard for Self Containment of Motor Caravans states that vehicles must be equipped with a toilet to meet certification requirements.

Yardley said freedom campers did not want to stink out the inside of their cars, nor empty the waste either and often could not be bothered making the trip to the marina toilets that are already in the area.

“I still don’t believe they’ll use them, I mean they [have the toilet in the car] and I’ve got a photo of [a] guy peeing on the wheel of [his car].”

Yardley said it riled him that people who were trying to make a business out of running motor camps were undercut by freedom camping sites.

Councillor Sarah Free supported the construction of the toilets and felt that they could benefit local residents.

“I wanted the public to be able to use them and furthermore I’m actually quite keen to explore the idea of [the toilets] being a wheelchair-friendly toilet and to have a mobility park there because I think that is a very prime recreation spot.”

At the meeting, Free also supported the notion that freedom campers contributed to the local economy.

“Well I think there is some benefit, as they’re going to be spending money on food and they’re are going to be doing some sightseeing and purchasing some other things.

“So if you want to attract freedom campers the better facilities you can provide the more likely you are to get freedom campers.”

Free acknowledged the council needed to look at what it was asking ratepayers to provide for people who are not paying rates.

The committee is conducting its 10-yearly review of the Public Places Bylaw 2008.

It recommended the council should develop and monitor the Evans Bay freedom camping site.

$450,000 has been set aside to construct a toilet block, erect fencing, paint new road markings and see the appointment of a park ranger to manage the site.

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