Porirua ready for influx of Lions fans
A popular Porirua spot with freedom campers will be given more attention during the upcoming British and Irish Lions rugby tour.
Porirua City Council will have extra staff on the ready to look after sites, such as Ngati Toa Domain.
The Lions arrive in New Zealand later this month and will be in Wellington for matches against the Hurricanes on June 27 and the All Blacks on July 1.
About 1300 campervans are expected to follow the games, and the council is anticipating some will stay in Porirua - particularly at the domain, for its rail links to Wellington City - as they did during as they did during the last tour in 2005.
Ratepayer Connie Palmer, who lives near the domain, was concerned because the area had hosted too many campers in the past, particularly during the summer months.
She hoped the council would police the area as some campers had flouted rules banning tents, and had parked outside designated areas.
‘‘They’re just crammed in there all over the place.
‘‘I don’t mind contributing to my community, but I object to freeloaders.
‘‘It always used to be the most lovely area ... I love seeing families there and people fishing, looking for crabs.’’
She felt aggrieved when campers packed out the area without having to contribute anything to its maintenance.
Another regular visitor said the amount of campervans had grown from about a dozen to around 70 on one day in February last year.
A council spokeswoman said, while the council looked forward to having the visitors, it will ‘‘closely monitor use of the domain and demand on its facilities and are ready to respond as need be’’.
‘‘We will have extra staff on to change rubbish bins and clean facilities and can bring in extra toilets if required.
‘‘If the demand for space becomes too great we have several other over-flow overnight parking areas we can open up.
‘‘Ngati Toa Domain is already a popular overnight parking spot and we are pleased to say we experience very few issues, with the majority of tourists respecting the reserve and leaving it clean and tidy.’’
Meanwhile, after at least 20 years, the spelling of ‘Ngatitoa’ Domain has been fixed to Ngati Toa Domain.
The iwi approached the council to get it fixed about six months ago, and the council has since changed the area’s name on the reserve title.
Parks manager Olivia Dovey said the council was not sure exactly how the error occurred.
The council has begun the process of getting a new sign installed at the park, and changing maps.
Ngati Toa Domain at Mana in Porirua is a popular spot for freedom campers. Above, the domain’s sign will be changed to ‘‘Ngati Toa’’.