No ‘significant’ economic contribution
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.
Residents say there needs to be tighter rules.