Approval sought for freedom camping bylaw feedback

Queenstown Lakes councillors will be asked tomorrow to approve a new phase of public consultation on the draft Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021.

A council freedom camping survey in July drew 820 public responses.

The draft 2021 bylaw will replace the Freedom Camping Bylaw 2019 and increases the number of prohibited freedom camping sites.

It was written after 105 council-administered sites were assessed for freedom camping potential.

Community services general manager Thunes Cloete said the council needed to regulate freedom camping. A bylaw was the appropriate method.

“The [district] is a significant tourist destination and has seen unprecedented growth in visitor numbers over the last decade, some of those being freedom campers,” Dr Cloete said.

New areas where freedom camping is prohibited are Coronet Peak Rd/Skippers Canyon Rd (to Skippers Saddle), Crown Range Rd, Precipice Creek Rd Reserve, Moke Lake Rd, Rafters Rd, Motutapu Rd Track End, Hawea Flat township, and Whitechapel Reserve.

The draft bylaw recommends freedom camping remains prohibited within residential and built-up areas.

Restricted freedom camping sites for certified self-contained vehicles have been identified at Gibbston Reserve car park, Glenorchy Domain car park, Camphill Road car park, Morven Ferry Reserve and the Luggate Red Bridge Reserve.

Dr Cloete said these were places where freedom camping could be managed through specific and identified controls and, except for the Luggate site, there would be a maximum number of car parks for certified self-contained vehicles and a maximum two-night stay.

Dr Cloete said enforcement officers had issued a small number of freedom camping infringement notices compared with the large number of responsible campers.

The new bylaw would strike a balance between providing appropriate freedom camping areas and prohibiting freedom camping in unsuitable sites, Dr Cloete said.

If approved for public consultation, submissions on the draft Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021 will open on Monday, August 2, and close on Friday, September 3.

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