13 Jul 2015

Freedom camping restrictions recommended

2:48 pm on 13 July 2015

[byline Conan Young - conan.young@radionz.co.nz

Christchurch City Council staff are recommending restricting where freedom campers can park up for the night.

The proposed bylaw follows a summer of discontent earlier this year culminating in confrontations between freedom campers and residents.

It designated areas where freedom camping were allowed, where it was banned and where it could happen only on a restricted basis.

It would be restricted basis in areas that were also popular with locals, and freedom campers would be required to have a toilet on board.

Those without toilets would be restricted to seven locations in the city and on Banks Peninsula.

Freedom campers would be allowed to stay between three and five nights depending on where they were.

The bylaw comes at a cost including $50,000 for signs and $100,000 annually for enforcement.

Those breaking the rules would be fined $200, however council staff have already identified potential problems in getting tourists to pay up.

The report to the Strategy and Finance Committee identified issues around rule breakers skipping the country without paying.

Fines could be recouped from the company that hired the car to the person but staff said this was not an option for the large number of tourists who buy their vehicles with the intention of selling them again when they returned home.

In the process of coming up with the bylaw, staff carried out a study where they discovered that out of a group of 34 freedom campers located in the seaside suburb of New Brighton, two thirds were working in Christchurch.

It found freedom campers included young overseas travellers in the city for work, other independent travellers and the homeless.

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