Free­dom campers get ed­u­ca­tion

$200 in­stant fines is­sued

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By CHE BAKER

Free­dom campers in the Queen­stown Lakes and Cen­tral Otago have cleaned up their act with coun­cils from both ar­eas re­port­ing an in­crease in re­spon­si­ble be­hav­iour. Queen­stown Lakes District Coun­cil com­mu­nity ser­vices gen­eral man­ager Paul Wil­son said the coun­cil had is­sued about 300 in­fringe­ment no­tices to those flout­ing the free­dom camp­ing bylaw since it came into force in De­cem­ber. Those caught camp­ing with­out self-con­tained ve­hi­cles, in res­i­den­tial ar­eas or in Queen­stown and Wanaka town cen­tres, were given $200 in­stant fines. How­ever, most peo­ple free­dom camp­ing were act­ing re­spon­si­bly and fol­low­ing the rules by hav­ing self-con­tained ve­hi­cles, Mr Wil­son said. In the year end­ing June 2012, the coun­cil is­sued about 1300 in­stant fines for those break­ing the rules. The Queen­stown Lakes District had sev­eral hot spots which were closely mon­i­tored by the coun­cil in­clud­ing One Mile, the Queen­stown Gar­dens and Park St, he said. Cen­tral Otago District Coun­cil parks and recre­ation man­ager Mathew Begg said so far this sum­mer, com­plaints about free­dom campers, usu­ally re­lat­ing to them camp­ing in the wrong area, had de­creased from last year. ‘‘Peo­ple seem to be go­ing to the spots that have been des­ig­nated and get­ting the in­for­ma­tion to find out where,’’ Mr Begg said. This year , the coun­cil had made an ef­fort to ed­u­cate peo­ple on the sub­ject which ‘‘seems to be work­ing’’, he said. How­ever, more com­plaints could be ex­pected if the weather con­tin­ued to stay hot and peo­ple stayed in the re­gion for longer, he said. Free­dom cam­per Kevin Ad­dley, of Blen­heim, who was camp­ing in his mo­torhome along Lake Dun­stan last week, said he en­joyed be­ing able to free­dom camp be­cause of the views and sites it of­fered. ‘‘It’s not just about the money. It’s what you see when you free­dom camp,’’ Mr Ad­dley said. It was the first time he, and travel com­pan­ions Adri­enne Kircher and son Joseph, 11, had camped in Cen­tral Otago and see­ing the Clyde dam had been a high­light.

Photo: CHE BAKER

Site seek­ers: Free­dom campers Kevin Ad­dley, Adri­enne Kircher and Joseph Ad­dley, 11, all of Blen­heim, en­joy the views of Lake Dun­stan while camp­ing in their mo­torhome near the Lake Dun­stan Row­ing Club.

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