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Public submissions to open on proposed Freedom Camping Bylaw 2019

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) has today approved a recommendation to undertake public consultation on the draft of a new Freedom Camping Bylaw 2019. This new bylaw is intended to replace the current Freedom Camping Control Bylaw 2012 upon its expiry in December 2019.

The proposed bylaw adopts the same approach as the existing 2012 bylaw, but includes an expansion to some areas in which freedom camping is prohibited, and is drafted in a simplified way.

QLDC General Manager Community Services, Thunes Cloete noted that the prohibition of freedom camping in new areas was reflective of strong residential growth in the district.

"We’ve got a number of new and expanding communities which either didn’t exist, or were far smaller in 2011 when the current bylaw was drafted," Dr Cloete said.

"Because of this, we’re proposing that freedom camping be prohibited in new areas including Hanley’s Farm, Shotover Country, Cardrona, Northlake and Hāwea surrounds, providing consistency with Council’s current approach prohibiting freedom camping in all urban and residential areas."

The proposed bylaw also incorporates two sections of road identified as ‘hotspots’ for freedom campers, those being Glenorchy Road between Queenstown and Glenorcy, and Wānaka-Mt Aspiring Road between Wānaka and Glendhu Bay.

"There is a need for Council to continue to regulate freedom camping in the district, especially as we approach the summer months and what is sure to be a very busy period for the Queenstown Lakes," Dr Cloete said.

"Camping is a much loved summer activity by both local residents and visitors from elsewhere in New Zealand and abroad, but we need to ensure all camping is undertaken in a responsible, sustainable and controlled way that remains in line with our Responsible Camping Strategy."

"This proposed bylaw will assist us in continuing to protect our unique environment while improving the experience of community members and those visiting over the summer months."

QLDC Parks Service Delivery Manager, Clare Tomkins added that identified stakeholders from the Department of Conservation (DOC), local campground owners and the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association Inc. (NZMCA) had all provided feedback which helped inform drafting of the proposed bylaw.

"We know that most campers just want to do the right thing, but what we’ve heard repeatedly is that while our current bylaw works well, the wording is convoluted and hard for users to understand," Ms Tomkins said.

"As a result, the proposed bylaw substantially reduces duplication of mentions to the Freedom Camping Act (FCA), and removes redundant clauses that deal with matters more effectively regulated elsewhere."

Submissions on the proposed Bylaw open on Saturday 12 October and close at 5.00pm on Monday 11 November 2019, following which three councillors of the new sitting Council will be appointed to hear and consider submissions at a date to be confirmed in mid November 2019.

To see the Proposed Freedom Camping Bylaw 2019 and submit feedback on it, head to https://letstalk.qldc.govt.nz/freedom-camping-bylaw-2019

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