Pre­pare for free­dom clamp­ing

Central Otago Mirror - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - JO MCKENZIE-MCLEAN

Hol­i­day­mak­ers will find them­selves free­dom clamp­ing in­stead of camp­ing if they are in non­com­pli­ant ve­hi­cles.

The Queen­stown Lakes and Cen­tral Otago dis­tricts are pre­par­ing for an­other in­flux of free­dom campers, which in­cludes in­creas­ing clamp­ing ar­eas and pa­trolling pop­u­lar spots for non­com­pli­ance.

Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil spokes­woman Michele Poole said they would have con­trac­tors mak­ing early morn­ing pa­trols of the most pop­u­lar free­dom camp­ing sites and ‘‘free­dom clamp­ing’’ would be ex­tended to other parts of the dis­trict.

The coun­cil had been clamp­ing non-com­pli­ant free­dom campers for 12 months and it had proven ‘‘ex­tremely ef­fec­tive’’ as a de­ter­rent in cer­tain places.

‘‘Clamp­ing was first be­gun in the Bound­ary St carpark in Queen­stown last De­cem­ber and we only had to clamp one van for the word to spread. Since then our early morn­ing pa­trols haven’t found any­one free­dom camp­ing there.’’

Last week, the coun­cil in­tro­duced clamp­ing non-com­pli­ant free­dom campers at the Lake Hayes re­serve - the east end of Lake Hayes - an­other pop­u­lar camp­ing spot for free­dom camp­ing.

‘‘We don’t wake peo­ple up in the mid­dle of the night to move them on, for safety rea­sons. We is­sue $200 in­stant fines. Where peo­ple are clamped, they have to pay a $200 re­lease fee be­fore they can move their ve­hi­cle. This is on top of the fine.’’

In the 12 months to the end of Novem­ber there were 2999 in­stant fines is­sued, she said.

‘‘We wel­come

free­dom campers who are in cer­ti­fied fully self-con­tained ve­hi­cles and who park up in the free­dom camp­ing zones. - this is most of the dis­trict, but not in town cen­tres. Peo­ple who don’t have fully self­con­tained ve­hi­cles can’t free­dom camp any­where, but they are still wel­come to use camp­ing grounds and hol­i­day parks.’’

Con­tact En­ergy’s Daniel Druce told the Cen­tral Otago Dis­trict Coun­cil the pop­u­lar free­dom camp­ing spot above Clyde Dam would be pa­trolled by se­cu­rity guards over sum­mer.

‘‘It gets used by car­a­vans and camper­vans. We haven’t had prob­lems...this sea­son se­cu­rity guards will do daily sweeps to get free­dom campers who are not self­con­tained out and keep peo­ple mov­ing so we don’t end up with per­ma­nent res­i­dents.’’

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