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The Coromandel will not be a septic tank for freedom campers

The Coromandel will not be a septic tank for freedom campers

A new freedom camping bylaw is being prepared to ensure what is unique and special about the Coromandel is protected, along with the health and safety of everyone using our parks and reserves.

"We don't want the Coromandel to become a septic tank. Irresponsible campers can take their crap and stick it somewhere else," says Mayor Glenn Leach. "We're already dealing with the problem of human waste and rubbish being left behind from freedom campers, many of whom aren't travelling in self-contained vehicles."

Those images contravenes the vision we have for the Coromandel to become a heritage park in the future along," says Mayor Leach. "It also knocks back the good work we're doing developing our Coromandel Great Walks and the cycleway from Kopu to Kaiaua, which showcases the amazing natural character of our region," says Mayor Leach. "

The Coromandel has the highest use of Free Independent Travellers. Over summer on any one day we have between 600 to 2000 freedom camping vehicles coming through our District.

"We realise there are issues that need managing and there are areas where we can manage it," says Mayor Leach. "We want to make sure we're doing all we can to be responsible hosts so that whoever visits the Coromandel are good guests."

Over the last summer period, we also sought feedback from the public on our current freedom camping bylaw, during a time when we have our peak population in the District. This ensured that we canvassed a wider market to help inform a new freedom camping policy and bylaw.

Judicial Review a waste of ratepayers' money

In late December 2013, the NZMCA lodged legal proceedings challenging our Council's process for setting up our current Freedom Camping Bylaw. A judicial review of that process will be heard at the High Court at Hamilton on 16 April. The legal review was lodged after our Council began work developing a new bylaw approach.

"The NZCMA should be working with us, not against us," says Mayor Leach. "And a lot of money is being spent going to court when they know we're already going down the track of reviewing the bylaw; they are taking us to court on a bylaw that is being replaced."

The new freedom camping bylaw is planned to go out for formal public consultation in June and a new bylaw adopted by August in time for next summer. The Council will also approve a new freedom camping policy at its meeting in May.

In the meantime Council is committed to continuing to use other tools to manage the effects of freedom camping and will work with all our Community Boards to identify areas that need to be managed in relation to the negative effects of freedom camping, along with areas where freedom camping should be encouraged.

To find out more about freedom camping on the Coromandel go to www.tcdc.govt.nz/freedomcamping


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