Freedom camping bylaw on hold

Any move to introduce a freedom camping bylaw in the Timaru district looks likely to be put on hold until a legal challenge to another council's bylaw is settled.

A handful of submissions to the district council's draft bylaws dealt with freedom camping. In light of the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association's legal challenge to the Westland District Council's bylaw, council's environmental health manager Rick Catchpowle is recommending the council withdraw the proposed bylaw at this stage.

In the meantime, he suggests the council applies the general requirements of the Freedom Camping Act 2012 to deal with issues such as rubbish and damage caused by freedom campers.

The draft bylaw the council had been considering dealt with matters such as where freedom camping was allowed and for how long.

Timaru Top 10 Holiday Park operators Gordon and Alison Collister told the council they generally agreed with the proposals, but did not like the fact that the council would effectively provide sewerage, water and rubbish services to visitors free of charge, then charge residents and other businesses for the same services.

They liked that the bylaw would have allowed council to take action against those "abusing the hospitality of the district".

The Timaru Herald