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Thumbs up to responsible freedom camping in Whangarei - council

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

If you see a camper displaying a responsible camper card this summer, give them a ‘thumbs up’, says Whangarei Mayor Sheryl Mai.

The blue and white responsible camper cards are being distributed to freedom campers throughout the peak camping season, and will be displayed on vehicles by freedom campers agreeing to comply with Whangarei District Council’s freedom camping rules.

Mayor Mai says she hopes to be busy delivering thumbs up signs herself this summer, and sees it as a positive way to acknowledge freedom campers who are trying to do the right thing.

"A ‘thumbs up’ to a responsible camper card is a way of thanking campers for their willingness to respect our people and place. The more we affirm their responsible actions, the more likely they are to act responsibly."

Responsible camper cards form part of Council’s wider Responsible Freedom Camping Management Programme, which aims to help freedom campers enjoy our beautiful district while staying on the right side of residents and Council’s Camping in Public Places Bylaw.

Whangarei District Council secured funding for the Programme in August 2018 from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Enterprise to address the strain of escalating freedom camper numbers on our district’s infrastructure and resources.

The funding has been used to upgrade freedom camping infrastructure, increase monitoring and enforcement, and develop an education programme that includes a freedom camping information pack and the responsible camping card.

"The card has Whangarei’s freedom camping rules written on one side and the words, ‘I’m a Responsible Freedom Camper’ on the other," Mayor Mai says.

"We invite campers to display the card in a prominent place in their vehicle to indicate they have read the rules and agree to abide by them."

The complementary information packs and cards can be collected by freedom campers from Whangarei iSites or one of Council’s responsible freedom camping ambassadors, the friendly locals who are greeting and educating campers at Whangarei’s ten most popular freedom camping areas over the peak summer camping period.

"Compliant campers displaying responsible camping cards at these sites will get a ‘thumbs up’ and a friendly wave from the ambassadors, while those without a card will get more serious attention to ensure they understand the rules," Mayor Mai says.

"Residents giving responsible campers a ‘thumbs up’ will be helping our ambassadors by reinforcing their message that Whangarei appreciates visitors who play by the rules.

"It’s all about making summer in Whangarei happier and healthier for everyone, and residents can assist in that process one ‘thumbs up’ at a time."

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