Illegal freedom campers corralled by laws

Last updated 13:00 26/02/2014

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Hundreds of illegal freedom campers have been moved on in Golden Bay and Motueka this summer, but those enforcing the bylaw say it is working effectively.

In a report to the Tasman District Council, the company contracted to enforce the freedom camping bylaw, Control Services, said it had found improved levels of compliance on council land.

In Golden Bay, from December 28 to the end of January, 102 visits were made to 13 sites and 255 non-compliant campers moved on, while there were 119 campers in self-contained vehicles.

At Motueka Beach, from December 17 to the end of January, 111 non-complaint campers were moved on, and 269 campers in self-contained vehicles were identified.

Freedom camping has been a hot topic in Nelson over the summer, with politicians and local businesses complaining about people sleeping in cars and vans in car parks overnight.

Nelson council bylaws state freedom campers can stay in car parks through the city as long as they are close to a public toilet.

The Tasman freedom camping bylaws were more restrictive than Nelson's.

The TDC only allows campers in self-contained vehicles to stay on council-owned land.

Vehicles must have a self-contained toilet and at least three days' storage capacity for drinking water, toilet waste and grey water.

People can only camp within one kilometre of a single location for two nights out of every four weeks - after they had camped for two nights they must move at least one kilometre away from their original campsite.

In the Motueka Beach Reserve, self-contained vehicles were restricted to two consecutive nights. However, after leaving the area for at least one night, self-contained vehicles were entitled to return for another two consecutive nights.

People in tents, or vehicles that were not certified as self-contained were not permitted to freedom camp on council land.

Councillors are to discuss the report tomorrow in the TDC environment and planning committee meeting.

Contractors issued three $200 infringement fines to campers at Port Motueka this summer for breaches of the requirement for self-contained vehicles.

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