Freedom camping law backed

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A “reasonable number” of submissions have been received on the Waitaki District Council’s draft Responsible Freedom Camping Bylaw.
When public consultation closed on July 25, 38 submissions had been received.
Oamaru ward councillor and freedom camping subcommittee chairwoman Melanie Tavendale said there were two likely reasons why the number of submissions was not higher.
“It’s a reasonable number … it could be we have pretty much got it right and they’re not concerned, or that it’s the middle of winter and people have not been concerned about it.”
Mrs Tavendale said she had not read the submissions in detail, but those she had seen were “generally positive”.
The majority supported the bylaw in its current form.
However, several submitters did not support it, or felt it required some refinement.
Under the proposed bylaw, freedom campers in Waitaki will be allowed to camp in the same spot for a maximum of three days over a four-week period, and camper vans used for freedom camping will be required to meet national standards for self-containment, including a three-day capacity for grey
water and black water.
It also lists places in the district where freedom camping will not be permitted.
On June 8, the council approved a contingency budget of up to $56,000 for policing the bylaw and education about the new rules.
In its verbal submission, the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association said it generally supported the “main thrust” of the bylaw.
However, it questioned the “legitimacy and lawfulness” of a land-management agreement that would prohibit freedom camping on an area of grassed land at Campbell’s Bay jointly owned by the council and the Kakanui Ratepayers and Improvement Society.
Mrs Tavendale said the council sought legal advice at the time and was “comfortable” the agreement was legally sound.
“This agreement was a response to pressure put on the environment and facilities over the past year by increased numbers of freedom campers and the conflict with the day use of the area by locals.