A proposal to introduce a bylaw to address freedom camping issues will be presented to the community for public feedback.
Following a busy summer season and an influx of freedom campers into the district, particularly around Campbell’s Bay in Kakanui, it became evident that measures needed to be taken to protect the environment and safeguard local residents from unreasonable disruption.
The bylaw proposes to restrict freedom camping to certified self-contained vehicles and that there is a maximum of a three-night stay in a four week consecutive period at any location. Certified self-contained vehicles must meet the New Zealand Standard 5465:2001 and must have a system to contain both black water (from toilets) and grey water (wastewater from sinks and showers) for a minimum of three days. The toilet must also be adequately restrained or secured when travelling.
Councillor Melanie Tavendale is Chair of a special sub-committee formed to review freedom camping and believes the bylaw will help address some of the negative impacts of freedom camping.
“A bylaw allows us to put in place some rules around what, if any, restrictions will be applied to freedom camping,” says Cr Tavendale.
“As well as restricting freedom camping to certified self-contained vehicles, we’re also proposing to prohibit freedom camping in certain locations such as the Bushy Beach carpark in Oamaru, the Moeraki Boulder access road and the part of Campbell’s Bay in Kakanui that is Council-managed land.”
Council is also intending to use other non-regulatory tools to complement the proposed bylaw. These include suitable signage to clearly show where freedom camping is prohibited or restricted, updating camping apps showing sites with new restrictions and on-going monitoring of freedom camping ‘hot-spots’.
“We’re fully aware of the natural beauty our district offers and can understand why so many people want to take advantage of that and we want to encourage people to visit our district and enjoy the many attractions we have on offer. But that must be tempered with a degree of control so that our environment is not harmed and local residents are not unduly inconvenienced.”
“This is an important issue for our whole district and I encourage people to make their views and concerns known to Council so that we can address them in a practical way.”