Freedom campers overload Whangarei i-Site
Overflowing rubbish bins, washing hung between trees and cars, and freedom campers sprawled over many carparks greeted visitors to the Whangarei i-Site over Easter.
The Whangarei Leader took these photos of the disorder and posted them on Neighbourly.
Resident Diane Semenoff says the centre carpark on Otaika Rd was "disgraceful".
"It has become an overnight camp ground, some of those campers take up more than one carpark space and literally set up camp, with chairs etc and they sit there having meals in parking spaces.
"They should not be allowed to camp overnight."
Fellow resident Heather Cluard says it "looks like a pikey campsite".
Visitor information services team leader Cheryl Lee says the bins are emptied twice daily but over the summertime they have been overflowing.
She says freedom camping at the i-Site generally hasn't been an issue.
"Generally campers arrive late and leave early and don't cause any problem, though they do put pressure on the rubbish bins."
Whangarei District Council waste and drainage field officer Grant Alsop confirmed the bins at the i-Site are programmed to be emptied twice a day but council contractors Northland Waste are emptying the bins up to four times a day over the busy December and January period.
"We do get some naughty neighbours putting their household rubbish in, but the biggest problem for us is the freedom campers.
"The upside is they aren't throwing it out their window as they drive down the road because roadside rubbish is another issue."
Council spokesperson Ann Midson says the council has had about 100 complaints about freedom campers all over the district over the summer. Regulatory contractors made regular patrols to known sites throughout the summer, she says.
Tel Hudson says it is easy to stigmatise freedom campers but they are not the usual culprits for overflowing bins.
"Look for locals who don't want to pay for official rubbish bags. Look for the posh toffs who don't want to sully their pretty cars by removing their garbage after a quick picnic."
Others suggested emptying the bins more often, and regulating freedom campers.
The i-Site carpark is a popular place for freedom campers as one of the toilet cubicles is open 24/7 and they can buy tokens to use the showers.
Alsop says the public toilets at the centre are also the busiest in the district.
He says if people see overflowing bins, to ring the council so they can be emptied.
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