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Review Of Responsible Camping Bylaw Planned

Councillors today decided at a full Council meeting to review the region’s new Responsible Camping Control Bylaw 2020 to respond to concerns raised by the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) and address changes brought about by Central Government and Covid-19.

A Responsible Camping Panel will be established to review submissions and manage a hearing process. The panel will be made up of two independent commissioners and one councillor, to be confirmed by 15 November.

Marlborough Mayor John Leggett said the Council received a draft ‘statement of claim for judicial review’ from the NZMCA in relation to the bylaw at the end of April 2021.

The two key points of the NZMCA claim are that:

1) Submitters were not given the chance to make submissions on the restriction of freedom camping to five sites in the district

2) Further, the Council did not undertake a complete assessment of all areas in the district (other than for the five sites) against the criteria in the Freedom Camping Act

“While the Council does not accept these claims, we have decided to undertake further consultation on the bylaw to address these points and to address other matters that have arisen since the bylaw came into effect,” said Mayor Leggett.

“Importantly this allows the Council to review the effect of the bylaw during the most recent camping season, last summer, which was the first managed under the 2020 bylaw. It’s timely too as the Government is also reviewing the Freedom Camping Act 2011 with some major changes proposed, and Covid-19 has had an impact as well,” he said.

The public notification process to review the bylaw will begin on 17 September 2021 and gives the public six weeks to have their say, with submissions closing on 28 October 2021.

“We will be undertaking a robust analysis of the submissions and plan to hold public hearings in early February,” Mayor Leggett said.

Following the hearings in February 2022, along with the analysis of the submissions received, a new bylaw will be adopted, or the current bylaw will be reconfirmed. It is anticipated that the bylaw, once adopted by the Council, will come into effect from 1 May 2022.

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