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New Marlborough Responsible Camping Bylaw Adopted

Marlborough District Council’s Freedom Camping Sub-Committee recommendations have been adopted unanimously by the full Council, which met this afternoon.

The Marlborough District Council Responsible Camping Control Bylaw 2020 will come into force from the beginning of the summer season, on 1 December 2020.

Three hundred and fifty submissions were received from the public on the proposed bylaw consultation in August and September this year, and of those 49 people had their say at public hearings.

Freedom Camping Sub-Committee Chair Councillor David Oddie said the sub-committee had listened to the public.

“In making our decision, we were conscious of public submissions made not only through the recent public consultation but also successive calls to control or prohibit freedom camping made to the Council over recent years.”

“The Council cannot prohibit freedom camping under the Freedom Camping Act. However the public has made its view clear - they want freedom camping to be available at a smaller number of sites and only for self-contained vehicles.”

“The number of freedom camping sites in Marlborough therefore will be reduced from 13 to five.

The following will remain open and continue as self-contained vehicle-only sites:

· Wairau Diversion, near Blenheim

· Wynen Street car park, Blenheim

· Taylor River Dam, Blenheim

· Renwick Domain, Renwick

· Elterwater, near Ward.

A number of submitters agreed with the Council’s Revised Statement of Proposal to further develop the Wairau Diversion as a key location for responsible campers and visitors. The site has the capacity to accommodate more campers and can also cater for day visitors. It is well located as a ‘fatigue stop’ for travellers moving to and from the Cook Strait ferries.

The following sites will be progressively closed during December 2020:

· Blairich Reserve, Awatere

· Collins Memorial Reserve, Koromiko

· Alfred Stream and Brown River reserves, Rai Valley

· Ohingaroa Bay and Double Bay, Mahau Sound

· Ohauparuparu, Kenepuru Sound

· Anakiwa ‘Village Green’, Queen Charlotte Sound.

New signage will be installed at all sites. Three other sites were proposed in the draft bylaw - two in Picton and one at Ward Domain. However, these locations were not supported by public submissions.

Councillor Oddie said Marlborough is open to all visitors and Marlburians are welcoming hosts.

“We are a popular destination for those visiting the Marlborough Sounds, Blenheim’s winery cellar doors, Molesworth Station, and for people heading to Nelson, Tasman, Kaikōura and further afield.”

“There are many camping options across Marlborough, including 50 DOC sites in stunning locations and a large number of private camping sites including holiday parks.”

Councillor Oddie said that in future all responsible campers in Marlborough will be subject to:

· Camping at the five identified sites

· Spending no more than two consecutive nights at a site in any four-week period

· Camping in a certified self-contained vehicle

· Appropriately disposing of all waste

· Lighting no fires

· Not restricting access to the area.

Marlborough’s Freedom Camping Bylaw was last reviewed in 2016 and was developed to provide a regional approach and guidance under the Freedom Camping Act 2011, which sets out the national direction on how to manage freedom camping.

For more information about camping in Marlborough and the bylaw review process go to https://www.marlborough.govt.nz/recreation/responsible-camping

This webpage will be updated over the next week.

The image shows a draft concept plan for the enhanced Wairau Diversion responsible camping site and day use area, near Blenheim. The area will be redeveloped with landscaping, plantings, shelters, improved toilets, enhanced parking and other facilities.

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