Ban­ning campers

Eastern Courier - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - HUGH COLLINS AND NI­COLE LAW­TON

Free­dom campers look­ing to rest their heads at Pan­mure Wharf are out of luck. The Auck­land Coun­cil has closed the Kings Road site to campers af­ter some users in­ter­fered with pub­lic and re­cre­ational use of the wharf.

The de­ci­sion is a u-turn by the coun­cil af­ter the Ta­maki River site was se­lected as part of a free­dom camp­ing trial which be­gan last month.

The ‘‘dis­per­sal pro­gramme’’ has made 29 sites, in­clud­ing How­ick Vil­lage, Eastern Beach and Lloyd Elsmore Park, avail­able for campers in an at­tempt by the coun­cil to stop them crowd­ing into other hotspots.

Coun­cil so­cial pol­icy and by­law man­ager Michael Sin­clair says one of the key cri­te­ria for sites for the free­dom camp­ing pi­lot is that they not im­pede lo­cal ac­cess to pub­lic ameni­ties. ‘‘Since vis­i­tors us­ing this site are caus­ing ac­cess dif­fi­cul­ties, we’re re­mov­ing it from the pi­lot scheme im­me­di­ately.’’

Coun­cil com­pli­ance of­fi­cers who have been mon­i­tor­ing the free­dom camp­ing sites say while campers at the Pan­mure Wharf were mostly well be­haved, some had to be moved as they were stay­ing past the 8am time limit and there were some­times more camper­vans in the car park than were per­mit­ted.

‘‘Those are both breaches of the pi­lot con­di­tions,’’ Sin­clair says.

SUPPLIED

Skilled Auck­land group Two Many Chiefs per­form at How­ick’s Uxbridge The­atre this Fri­day, March 17, from 8pm.

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