Public feedback is invited until Monday 16 November on some proposed changes to the Freedom Camping bylaw.  

Earlier this year, following the adoption of the Responsible Camping Strategy, staff were asked to review the bylaw but due to Covid-19 and other issues, a full review has not been possible. The changes that are proposed are aimed at addressing the main concerns from the community. 

The key changes include:  

  • Removal of the Waitapu Bridge site from the bylaw as Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency is taking over control of the area and we no longer have jurisdiction for freedom camping. 

  • Removal of the Taupata Gravel Reserve from the bylaw due to continued concerns with danger to nesting birds and difficulties with effective policing. 

  • Removal of the Waikoropupu Springs Road Reserve as this area is now under Department of Conservation control and we have no jurisdiction.  

  • Addition of a new site on the former Rototai Tip site, serviced with temporary toilets and waste bins funded by the  central government responsible camping grant. 

  • Amending the location of the site on Decks Reserve to accommodate the new library construction. 

  • Amending the permitted camping area at Alexander Bluff Road Reserve to identify more precisely the area where camping is allowed and allow better access to the reserve for other users. 

Councillor Dana Wensley, Chair of the Regulatory Committee says “There have been concerns about the increasing number of freedom campers visiting our region in previous years.  

“The role of the Freedom Camping Bylaw is to ensure that Council meets the legal requirements of the Freedom Camping Act i.e. by not putting a blanket ban on freedom camping, whilst protecting the rights of our residents and the health of our environment. The Committee felt the proposed changes will strike that balance but we need to hear from the community before a final decision is made. I encourage everyone who is interested to have their say.”   

Submissions are invited until 4.30pm on Monday 16 November. The full Statement of Proposal is available here on the website and at all Council offices and libraries. Following the consideration of submissions, final changes will be brought back to the full Council meeting on 3 December 2020, to allow any changes to be in place for the rest of the summer camping season.