No ‘sig­nif­i­cant’ eco­nomic con­tri­bu­tion

Rodney Times - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - RENEE CLAY­TON

A busi­ness as­so­ci­a­tion says tighter rules are needed for free­dom campers as they don’t sig­nif­i­cantly con­trib­ute to the lo­cal econ­omy.

Des­ti­na­tion Orewa Beach’s Hellen Wilkins said the coun­cil needs to bring on more ef­fec­tive rules and in­fringe­ments.

‘‘We get around 20 or more buses and camper­vans on the surf club’s grass and carpark area at any given morn­ing and it is mid­win­ter.

‘‘The ve­hi­cles with no con­tain­ment fa­cil­i­ties are im­pact­ing on the sur­round­ing ser­vices such as pub­lic toi­lets, beach show­ers and rub­bish bins. We do not be­lieve that there is any sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic im­pact on the town from these vis­i­tors as they stay in Orewa for con­ve­nience and not to en­joy the hos­pi­tal­ity and re­tail as­pects of the town.’’

Wilkins said the is­sues will only es­ca­late as sum­mer nears.

‘‘The Hibis­cus and Bays Lo­cal Board are very keen to have the by­law in­tro­duced this year, and are hop­ing that it won’t be de­ferred for the po­ten­tial two years.’’

Due to the grow­ing de­mands, the Auck­land Coun­cil is set to de­velop a new re­gion-wide by­law.

The Coun­cil’s Reg­u­la­tory Com­mit­tee this month agreed the by­law would be de­vel­oped un­der the Free­dom Camp­ing Act 2011.

This is where free­dom camp­ing is per­mit­ted ev­ery­where in a lo­cal author­ity area un­less it is pro­hib­ited or re­stricted in ac­cor­dance with a by­law. It also means coun­cils can restrict and pro­hibit free­dom camp­ing to pro­tect an area or the ac­cess to it and the health and safety of vis­i­tors.

Rod­ney Lo­cal Board Chair­woman Beth Houl­brooke said the by­law will de­pend on the feed­back from the com­mu­nity.

‘‘The sit­u­a­tion seems to be be­ing man­aged bet­ter now than it was a year or so ago, with im­proved park­ing sig­nage and carpark paint­ing, and the up­take of app tech­nol­ogy to spread the campers out.’’

Houl­brooke is a cam­per her­self and said it is a won­der­ful way to en­joy the coast­line.

Rod­ney has a short­age of ac­com­mo­da­tion op­tions, there­fore self-con­tained campers are im­por­tant to the lo­cal econ­omy, Houl­brooke said.

She said the coun­cil could look at tight­en­ing up the def­i­ni­tion of a self-con­tained cam­per.

It is ex­pected to take 18 months to de­velop the new by­law, un­til then, the ex­ist­ing legacy coun­cil by­laws re­main.

MARTIN DE RUYTER

Res­i­dents say there needs to be tighter rules.

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