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New freedom camping bylaw in time for Labour Weekend

A new Freedom Camping bylaw will be in place by Labour Weekend.

Council deliberated on submissions to its draft Freedom Camping Bylaw today, and will look to adopt a revised draft bylaw at its meeting on 22 October.

In the past few months we've had a draft Freedom Bylaw out for public consultation. We had over 120 submissions and submitters were given the opportunity to speak to Council at a hearing last month.

At today's deliberations Council did decide on some changes to the proposed draft bylaw that included:

• Removing the proposed restriction that would prohibit freedom camping in restricted areas during summer and holiday weekends.

• Extending the proposed departure time from 8am to 9am.

• Extending the number of nights freedom campers can stay in a restricted area to 2 consecutive nights.

• Having designating areas for freedom camping within all restricted areas.

• Some changes to proposed areas where freedom camping is prohibited or restricted
Council agreed to keep the proposed district-wide restriction that all freedom campers must be certified self-contained.

To see all the summary of submissions and the decisions that council considered see the deliberations decisions report.
Earlier this year we had a judicial review of our current Freedom Camping Bylaw sought by the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA). The High Court decision was released late last month and found that our Bylaw is legal, but two clauses in our Public Places Bylaw and Parking Control Bylaw should be revoked. Council formally revoked these today.

"During the legal proceedings we were already a long-way down the track in reviewing the Bylaw to make it more permissive, and revoking the two inconsistent bylaw clauses" says Thames-Coromandel Chief Executive David Hammond.

"We are wanting to work more proactively with the NZMCA to ensure that people visiting the Coromandel in certified self-contained vehicles are catered for and are considerate of our beautiful Coromandel environment. People in uncertified non self-contained vehicles will be encouraged to use commercial campsites.”

We will be working on signage and developing easy to use information for the public, including freedom campers, on the freedom camping rules and also places where freedom camping is encouraged. When this is ready we'll have information available in our areas offices, i-sites and visitor centres, and update our website.

ENDS

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