Evans Bay campsite extension proposed

The Evans Bay freedom camping site should be expanded by five more vehicle parks the Wellington city strategy committee has recommended.

Councillor Peter Gilberd said he was confident the proposal would satisfy the public.

“There will be amenity planting, a fence to limit spillover of vehicles into other areas, an upgrade of the dump station for wastewater from vehicles and modern new toilets for freedom campers and members of the public,” Gilberd said.

Gilberd was also pleased with the proposed appointment of a council ranger.

“As front-line officers, rangers are experienced and work well with the public. They interact in a positive way, they are knowledgeable about our city and they tend to be long-term employees that ensure offices at the council are kept up to date with how things are going with the site.”

Cr Malcolm Sparrow had doubts over how the local community would benefit from it.  “I am not convinced of the so-called benefits of the lower end of freedom camping market, for those doing it on the cheap and what that brings to the local community.

“What I do have a major problem with is paying $300,000 for a new toilet block being primarily for the benefit of freedom campers, non-rate payers, when we don’t even have funds available for public toilets in Linden for our own ratepayers,” Sparrow said.

Cr Brian Dawson saw the expansion of the camping site as an effective way of restricting freedom campers to one area.

“There is a reality that if we make it less attractive and even more importantly less simple for people to use Evans Bay that these potential users can and will park completely legally pretty much anywhere else in the city.

“So this is a way of at least trying to, and pardon the term, corral people into a space where we can have some control over,” Dawson said.

The recommendation will be considered by the council on May 30.

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