Education, tighter rules, for campers

A carrot-and-stick approach will be used to stop freedom campers dumping litter and effluent.

The Waitaki District Council last week implemented a proactive media campaign for visitors in the district to answer growing unease over litter and human effluent left by campers.

It also launched its "reactive litter response" - policing and fines using the Litter Act and other powers.

The Waitaki Tourism Association in February urged the council to tighten rules and regulations relating to freedom camping, take a tougher line and educate tourists.

Similar issues had been raised by other Otago groups.

Waitaki Tourism president Sue Berry said freedom campers displayed "the ugly side of tourism" and in excessive cases caused potential health issues with their toilet and refuse disposal.

The association suggested the council act, including.
- Adopting and enforcing a bylaw and policies on camping and campervans.
- An education brochure for information centres.
- Signs at gateway locations on state highways to inform campervan and motorhome drivers.
- Placing "no camping" signs at "hot spots" with problems.
- Establishing and maintaining toilet and rubbish disposal facilities at "hot spots".

Policy manager Ben Hopkins said the council should continue to provide a reactive litter response and proactive media campaign to discourage dumping.

He also recommended more education-information "encouraging positive behaviour and camping in approved areas" through Tourism Waitaki, funded by up to$3000.



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