Freedom campers fewer at Warrington

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Waikouaiti Coast Community Board chairman Alasdair Morrison. PHOTO: THE STAR FILES

Last summer we saw a significant reduction in freedom camping vehicle numbers at Warrington Reserve, following the opening of the new Thomas Burns St site in the city.

Well here we are at the start of another triennium, and this time we have two new members in the team: Andy Barratt, from Merton, and Sonya Billyard, from Waikouaiti.

They replace Richard Russell and Rose Stringer-Wright, both from Karitane, and we thank Richard and Rose for their contributions over the past three years.

We have a busy time ahead of us and close to the top of the agenda is the implementation of the Reserves and Beaches Bylaw, with a special emphasis on keeping vehicles from causing damage on the beaches.

New signs will be appearing over the summer period, and information flyers will be made available from the new rangers who will be patrolling the beaches.

Last summer we saw a significant reduction in freedom camping vehicle numbers at Warrington Reserve, following the opening of the new Thomas Burns St site in the city.

We would like to see the DCC make more sites available in the wider city area.

We had 19,000 visitors over the past 12 months, down almost 4000 from the previous year.

Judging by the comments in the smartphone camping apps, our visitors really enjoy their stay.

After a sticky start a few years ago, the Warrington freedom camping area is now working well, thanks in no small part to the efforts of a local resident who keeps a close eye on the condition of the ground.

Further north, planting has continued along the dunes beside Matanaka Dr in Waikouaiti.

Since the pine forest was felled a few years ago, about 20,000 indigenous plants are now thriving, with many thousands more still to be planted over the next few years.

A well-used walking track has been established and, as the years go by, this area will become an indigenous forest of which the community can be proud.

Also in Waikouaiti, we have an enthusiastic group of volunteers who are working on the establishment of a comprehensive recycling centre.

Initial work is being carried out at the site of the former landfill, which is due to be capped this coming year.

Following the closure of the landfill a few years ago, the site on Edinburgh St has become a transfer station and it is working well.

I take this opportunity to wish you all a safe and happy Christmas period.