Crack­down on free­dom cam­pers

Whangarei Report - - News - By Alexandra Newlove and Peter de Graaf

Free­dom cam­pers have had their fi­nal hur­rah in Whangarei this sum­mer, with an im­pend­ing crack­down on where the no­mads can set up base.

Whangarei was cur­rently a free-for-all, but now pop­u­lar spots in­clud­ing the re­serve be­hind Whangarei Aquatic Cen­tre, the carpark be­side Te Matau A Pohe, sev­eral spa­ces at Mat­apouri Beach and sports parks would be sub­ject to year­round bans un­der Whangarei District Coun­cil’s pro­posed Free­dom Camp­ing By­law.

Ar­eas at Langs and Ruakaka beaches, as well as Mcleod, Welling­tons, Wool­leys, Sandy and Moureeses bays would be nogo zones for cam­pers dur­ing the peak sum­mer sea­son, while other pop­u­lar spots would have des­ig­nated sec­tions where peo­ple could stay.

A WDC re­port said an in­creas­ing num­ber of com­plaints were be­ing re­ceived about free­dom cam­pers who caused a mess or re­duced amenity or ac­cess.

Just over 100 com­plaints were re­ceived be­tween De­cem­ber 2008 and De­cem­ber 2015, which ex­cluded those about peo­ple stay­ing too long. Un­der cur­rent rules cam­pers could park for up to three nights.

WDC Pol­icy and By­laws an­a­lyst Shireen Mun­day said the num­ber of com­plaints was in­creas­ing over time.

Mean­while the Far North District Coun­cil had loos­ened its re­stric­tive free­dom camp­ing rules. Late last year it des­ig­nated eight sites be­tween Kawakawa and Awanui as of­fi­cial free­dom camp­ing sites.

FNDC then pro­posed 16 pos­si­ble sites based on ac­cess, ground con­di­tions, avail­abil­ity of wa­ter and pub­lic toi­lets, and dis­tance from ex­ist­ing camp­grounds. Half were ditched af­ter coun­cil­lors re­viewed the 178 pub­lic sub­mis­sions.

The coun­cil-ap­proved sites are at To­tara North’s old dump site; the Hun­dert­wasser car park, be­hind the toi­lets in Kawakawa; Cen­tre Park, Kaitaia; Awanui Re­serve; Man­gonui Lions Park; Lind­vart Park, Kaikohe; Te Cor­ner, Ohaeawai; and Two Ponga Park, Okai­hau.

Other free­dom camp­ing sites are pro­vided by DOC, the NZ Mo­tor Car­a­van As­so­ci­a­tion and RSAS.

The Far North pre­vi­ously had only four sites where free­dom camp­ing was al­lowed.

PHOTO/MIKE DINS­DALE

NO MORE: Th­ese

River­side cam­pers will be out of luck next sum­mer, as the coun­cil moves to re­strict free­dom camp­ing.

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