Crackdown on freedom camping

LOIS CAIRNS
Last updated 05:00 31/01/2014

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A crackdown on freedom camping in the greater Christchurch area could be on the cards.

Christchurch City councillors have voted for a staff investigation into what action can be taken to control, restrict or designate specific areas for freedom camping in Banks Peninsula and Christchurch city.

On Banks Peninsula, freedom campers have created tension at Akaroa's boat ramp. Up to 20 campervans have been parking by the ramp, clogging up the carpark and creating chaos when boaties want to launch early in the morning.

In nearby Duvauchelle, freedom campers had been parking outside the campground and using its facilities.

The council has also received complaints about freedom campers using some of Christchurch's urban parks.

Banks Peninsula councillor Andrew Turner said he was against over-regulation but felt the council had to act.

He had returned from holidays to a flood of complaints from local residents. It was clear some were acting inappropriately and quite disrespectfully, he said.

The council needed to come up with some solutions before next summer, Turner said.

In other popular tourists areas, councils have brought in bylaws to stop freedom campers but the Christchurch City Council has no such bylaw.

Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism chief executive Tim Hunter said it was a shame a few "downright cheeky" freedom campers were ruining it for the responsible ones.

"This is becoming a vexed issue right across New Zealand just with the growth in the number of people using motor caravans," he said.

It was important to allow it to continue, but with enough restrictions to retain the country's 100 per cent pure image, Hunter said.

An option was to limit the days self-contained vans could camp, since most could only contain waste for about three days.

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- The Press

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