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New freedom camping rules approved

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

New freedom camping rules approved

New changes to Christchurch’s freedom camping rules will serve to better manage the safety of visitors, residents and the environment as the district moves into the busy summer period, says Deputy Mayor Andrew Turner.

The Council today approved amendments to its Freedom Camping Bylaw that ban all non-self-contained freedom camping throughout the district, but allow certified self-contained freedom camping without a time restriction in rural zones. The new rules come into effect from 1 December.

“It’s important to highlight that Christchurch is still very much open to freedom campers and other visitors looking to make the most of low-cost camping grounds,” says Deputy Mayor Turner. “But there’s now a simpler district-wide rule for how freedom camping can be carried out, namely in a certified self-contained vehicle.”

Certified self-contained vehicles are those equipped with on-board wastewater facilities and approved by the NZ Motor Caravan Association.

Deputy Mayor Turner says the Council has a responsibility to the public to ensure freedom camping across the district is well managed and safe.

“With the city’s visitor numbers increasing year on year, the Council must take a long-term view and balance the interests of freedom campers with those of residents, other visitors and our local environment.

“The recent public consultation showed a clear majority of submitters were in general support of the changes to the Freedom Camping Bylaw, and this gave confidence to the Council’s decision today.”

The Council introduced the Freedom Camping Bylaw last year, initially designating five specific sites for non-self-contained freedom camping in the district: Lower Styx River car park, Windsport car park, Addington Reserve car park, and parts of the French Farm and Wainui foreshores.

However, overcrowding, unsanitary conditions and complaints from residents forced the Council to temporarily close the sites.

The majority of complaints related to campers not using toilets, or disposing of wastewater and rubbish improperly, or preventing others accessing popular recreation areas.

Following today’s Council decision, the five previously designated sites will remain permanently closed to all freedom camping.

A full review of the Freedom Camping Bylaw is scheduled for next year.

– Ends –


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