Campers freely flouting park-up rules
ALEXIA JOHNSTON AND JACQUIE WEBBY
Freedom campers are breaking the rules in Timaru.
In many cases, campervan owners park up where they are not allowed to in the town, while others choose to ignore signs stating the quota allowed at allocated sites.
The car park next to the Caroline Bay skating rink, off Marine Parade, is open to campervans between 4pm and 10am for a maximum of three nights. It is limited to 10 vehicles at any one time.
However, Timaru Top 10 Holiday Park owner Gordon Collister said it was not unusual to see up to 20 campervans scattered between that car park and a neighbouring car park closer to the bay.
Yesterday morning there were almost 20.
Mr Collister said in previous years he had counted up to 35 between the two car parks.
He said nobody was policing the situation, which was ultimately why people were getting away with it.
Campervans are also allowed to park at Patiti Point.
However, Mr Collister believes there is an "unfairness" in the process being followed by some travellers.
"There's this group of people roaming around the countryside expecting the town will provide services for free that the town has to pay for."
He said rubbish disposal and toilet facilities were among those amenities.
"Some of the people I really have an issue with are those who truly abuse the privilege - they stay at the bay for a couple of nights, Patiti Point a couple of nights and at the Scenic Reserve as well."
The problem was not exclusive to Timaru.
"It's certainly a nationwide issue," he said.
"We've learned to live with it up to a point. We want to concentrate on the guests who want to stay with us."
Glenmark Holiday Park owner April Clifford said she was not in favour of free camping at Caroline Bay.
"What happens if someone gets attacked there? It gives the whole of Timaru a bad name," she said.
"Personally I don't agree with camping there."
The Timaru District Council could not be contacted for comment.
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