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Freedom Camping Receives Funding Boost

The freedom camping season in Dunedin is off to a good start this year with a funding boost.

The Dunedin City Council was recently successful in an application to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment for $140,000 towards the cost of responsible camping initiatives. The funds will help the DCC manage freedom camping during the 2020 – 2021 season, paying for the community ranger programme, increased security patrols for monitoring and enforcement, and temporary toilet facilities and servicing.

The season begins this Sunday, 1 November and ends on 30 April 2021, although freedom campers use some Dunedin sites throughout the year.

The DCC Acting Group Manager Parks and Recreation Scott MacLean says, “We’re waiting to see what freedom camping looks like this year but, so far, visitor numbers have been average to above average. At this stage, we’re not sure how the season will shape up.”

The Thomas Burns site has now been added to the DCC’s Camping Control Bylaw on a permanent basis. This allows both self-contained and non-self-contained vehicles to camp there during the season every year.

Last season, Thomas Burns was Dunedin’s most popular site and was successful in relieving the pressure of growing freedom camping numbers at Warrington and Ocean View.

Three community rangers will visit freedom campsites this season and will patrol further afield to areas such as Waikouaiti. They will be visiting campsites at Warrington Domain, Ocean View, Brighton Domain and Thomas Burns. Freedom campers will be surveyed and the information gathered will build on data collected last summer.

The joint DCC/Department of Conservation community ranger initiative will run from November until the end of April 2020.As well as monitoring and informing people about freedom camping, they will be making sure vehicles stay off our beaches, especially in areas such as Tomahawk and Waikouaiti.

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