Council wants action on freedom campers

GLENN CONWAY
Last updated 07:15 22/03/2014

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City officials have been too "soft" on freedom campers but any tough new measures to address the issue are at least another year away.

The Christchurch City Council strategy and planning committee yesterday criticised officials for not taking a hard enough line against freedom campers and demanded they get tougher next summer.

How that harder line worked would determine whether a bylaw would be introduced.

Cr Raf Manji said officials had been too "soft" and they seemed to be "dithering" on what to do about the problem. Queenstown-Lakes District Council had introduced a hard-line approach to freedom camping which seemed to be working, yet Christchurch officials had done little.

"We have to get our act together . . . it's just ridiculous," Manji said.

Freedom camping has infuriated many this summer, especially in Akaroa, where there had been many reports of visitors dumping their waste and blocking access to public areas.

Council staff had recommended the committee continue to deal with the issue on a case-by-case basis because a bylaw was not a priority when the council had to deal with other pressing earthquake recovery matters.

The committee said not enough was being done to tackle the issue and questioned whether staff were using all the legal tools at their disposal.

The committee agreed there were tools the council could use to deter freedom camping without the need for a bylaw immediately.

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- The Press

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