Prepare for freedom clamping
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.
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.’’