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More than 70 infringement notices have been issued to freedom campers in the Waitaki district since the district council’s new freedom camping bylaw came into effect on October 21.
Just 15 $200 fines had been paid to date, out of the 73 notices issued under the Waitaki District Council’s Waitaki responsible freedom camping bylaw, the council’s regulatory services manager Lichelle Guyan said in an email.
Twenty of the 73 infringement notices had been withdrawn. Some had been incorrectly issued and others were rescinded at the council’s discretion. Thirty-eight fines were yet to be paid.
Campers issued with infringement notices have 28 days to pay. The infringement notices were issued at coastal locations from Moeraki to Oamaru, Mrs Guyan said.
Freedom camping is prohibited in 79 named reserves across the Waitaki district.
Camper vans used for freedom camping must meet national standards for self-containment and can camp in the same spot for a maximum of three days over a four-week period.
Oamaru ward councillor Melanie Tavendale, who spearheaded the bylaw last year, said it was a "wee bit early" to gauge the law’s success.
It was the district’s first effort to curb the effect of rising visitor numbers on coastal areas’ amenity values and the stress on ratepayer-funded infrastructure.
But, at Kakanui, where Cr Tavendale lives, there had been noticeable improvement.
"It’s certainly taken the pressure off the area, and we’re not seeing the same problems we were this time last year," she said.
Campbells Bay, Kakanui, was one of the hardest-hit areas in the Waitaki district last summer. The crowds of freedom campers created a situation some Kakanui residents described as "monstrous" when up to 200 people stayed at the seaside site on busy nights.
The toilet block at Campbells Bay had four maintenance callouts in January.
While the Kakanui Ratepayers and Improvement Society allows up to five self-contained vehicles to stay at any one time on roughly 2000sq m of land it manages at Campbells Bay, the council has prohibited camping on its land there.