Ki­wiCamp planned in Seaforth Rd

Waihi Leader - - News - By ME­LANIE CAMOIN news@wai­hileader.co.nz

A new free­dom camp­ing fa­cil­ity in Waihi Beach called Ki­wiCamp may be ready this sum­mer.

Western Bay of Plenty District Coun­cil is work­ing on a new fa­cil­ity to man­age free­dom campers at the beach. Ki­wiCamp is planned for a Seaforth Road carpark on the 100km stretch of road to Bowen­town.

The carpark is al­ready a free­dom camp­ing site un­der the ex­ist­ing by­law but no ser­vices are cur­rently pro­vided to campers.

Ki­wiCamp founder Chris Wag­ner vis­ited the site re­cently, and he says the Ki­wiCamp con­cept is not just for free­dom campers.

An ablu­tion block with dis­abled ac­cess will be set up with sev­eral show­ers, toi­lets, a dish wash­ing room and laun­dry ac­cess. Drink­ing wa­ter as well as a wire­less in­ter­net con­nec­tion for campers will also be in­cluded.

“It won’t be just for tourists to camp but also for lo­cals to use the fa­cil­ity dur­ing the day,” Chris says.

The toi­lets and a waste/re­cy­cling fa­cil­ity will be avail­able to the pub­lic at no charge. Campers will pay a one-off fee for us­ing the other ser­vices.

Coun­cil’s Re­serves and Fa­cil­i­ties Man­ager Peter Wat­son says it will help al­le­vi­ate the flow of campers com­ing into the area on high sea­son.

“This will help us man­age free­dom camp­ing in the Waihi Beach area which is where the great­est num­ber of com­pli­ance is­sues arise for Coun­cil over the peak of sum­mer,” he says. “The Ki­wiCamp model al­lows run­ning costs to be re­cov­ered through a charge sys­tem — Ki­wicash — a sim­ple pay-as-you-go so­lu­tion that gives campers great fa­cil­i­ties, paid for by free­dom campers,” he says.

The site was cho­sen be­cause it al­ready has util­i­ties — wa­ter, sew­er­age and power — and it is away from res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties. It is also close to the beach, the cy­cle­way net­work and has cell­phone net­work avail­abil­ity, Peter says.

For the Ki­wiCamp di­rec­tor, the con­cept is a win-win for the Coun­cil and lo­cal res­i­dents.

“Users of the fa­cil­ity will pay for its main­te­nance [via the fees], not the ratepay­ers.

“The ex­tra money that Ki­wiCamp makes will stay lo­cal. It goes back to lo­cals for dif­fer­ent com­mu­nity projects,” he says.

Western Bay of Plenty District Coun­cil was granted $340,000 from Cen­tral Gov­ern­ment to help man­age free­dom camp­ing dis­trictwide.

The grant in­cludes fund­ing for the Ki­wiCamp in Waihi Beach, in­stal­la­tion of Smart Bin tech­nol­ogy at free­dom camp­ing sites and in­creas­ing com­pli­ance mon­i­tor­ing district-wide.

There are 47 free­dom camp­ing sites across the district gov­erned by Coun­cil’s Free­dom Camp­ing By­law which re­quires all free­dom camp­ing to be in self­con­tained ve­hi­cles. Coun­cil em­ploys a se­cu­rity firm from Oc­to­ber to March to mon­i­tor and en­sure com­pli­ance with the by­law.

The fund­ing is part of an $8.5 mil­lion fund­ing pack­age an­nounced by Gov­ern­ment for na­tion­wide ini­tia­tives to be put in place in time for this sum­mer.

WBOP District Coun­cil ap­plied to Gov­ern­ment for ad­di­tional fund­ing through the Tourism Fa­cil­i­ties De­vel­op­ment Grants Fund to man­age and im­prove fa­cil­i­ties and mon­i­tor­ing for the in­creas­ing num­bers of free­dom campers.

Western Bay Mayor Garry Web­ber salutes the ini­tia­tive from Coun­cil’s staff.

“This ap­pli­ca­tion for fund­ing was a staff ini­tia­tive to gen­er­ate ad­di­tional fund­ing to meet the in­creas­ing needs of free­dom camp­ing in the Western Bay.

“Clearly the $340,000 is proof that we have put our case very well to Gov­ern­ment,” he says.

The grant is con­di­tional on in­stal­la­tion of the Ki­wiCamp and other fa­cil­i­ties be­ing built by De­cem­ber.

Mayor Web­ber says he is keen to see work start­ing as soon as pos­si­ble in Waihi Beach.

“We have quite a short time frame and this will be chal­leng­ing so we need to get started,” he says.

PHO­TOS / CHRIS WAG­NER.

Ex­am­ple of Ki­wiCamp toi­lets. (Right): The Ki­wiCamp fa­cil­ity to be in­stalled at Waihi Beach.

PHOTO / ME­LANIE CAMOIN.

The lo­ca­tion of a po­ten­tial Ki­wiCamp in Waihi Beach to be built by De­cem­ber.

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