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Council To Consult On Draft Responsible Camping Control Bylaw 2022

Councillors have approved the documentation required to review the region’s Responsible Camping Control Bylaw 2020 with consultation set to run for eight weeks from 17 November 2021 until 17 January 2022.

Council’s decision to review the 2020 bylaw comes as a result of concerns raised by the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA).

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

“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.

“We know freedom camping is a challenging issue in Marlborough and New Zealand. Now is the time for the community to read over the draft Marlborough District Council Responsible Camping Bylaw 2022, and the accompanying documentation and make submissions regarding the proposed changes, or identify any other issues relating to freedom camping in our region.”

“We will be undertaking a robust analysis of the submissions and plan to hold public hearings during the first quarter of next year,” Mayor Leggett said.

Following the hearings, 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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