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TDC settles on freedom camping bylaw

January 9th, 2018
[by David Armstrong]

Tasman District Council has agreed on a modified Freedom Camping Bylaw which clarifies areas which allow various forms of camping outside of official camping parks.

For Motueka this includes freedom camping with restrictions at Beach Reserve, Decks Reserve car park, and Alexander Bluff Road Reserve in Ngatimoti.

In November and December a panel of four councillors read all submissions and heard about 70 people speak. After much deliberation, their summary was agreed by the full Council on 14th December 2017.

The Bylaw can be found in hard copy at all council offices or online here: Click Here

The panel noted the messages given to them by submitters. Consistent comments were:

  • There was general recognition that this form of tourism was not going to go away.
  • There was a need to have places for such tourists to go.
  • Additional facilities were required if we the negative impacts were to be effectively managed.
  • A very common submission was for additional enforcement to be available.
  • Many called for either a blanket ban on all freedom camping or for self-contained vehicles only to be permitted.
  • Environmental protection was a priority for many.
  • Many called for a small charge be levied against freedom campers staying at newly created low cost sites.

Restrictions on camping on residential roads was reduced to areas where Council have had significant issues previously.

The general provision of prohibiting camping on formed roads was removed as it is controlled by other legislation and was difficult to give clear definition of its effect on campers in the Bylaw.

Areas where freedom camping is permitted with some restrictions included Alexander Bluff Road Reserve near Ngatimoti, Motueka Beach Reserve (self-contained vehicles only) and Decks Reserve Carpark, Motueka (but no tents). Number of campers, types of vehicle and length-of-stay restrictions also apply.

Freedom Camping is prohibited in the following public places in the Motueka area:
  • All cemeteries
  • Residential areas listed in Schedule 1 of the Freedom Camping Bylaw 2017 with a speed limit of 70kmh or less
  • Reserves, parks and sportsgrounds (unless specifically listed as a permitted or restricted freedom camping area or permission is granted by the Council)
  • Roads in the Kaiteriteri, Stephens Bay and Split Apple Rock areas
  • The river side of any embankment, except the area at Waitapu Bridge
  • Hickmott Place, Motueka
  • Thorps Bush, Motueka
  • George Quay, Motueka
  • Riwaka Resurgence Road Reserve
  • The end of Staples Street, Motueka
  • All roads in Motueka township, speed limit 70kmh or less
  • Part of Riwaka township
  • Marahau township

The Government has supported TDC's bid for additional infrastructure for tourism under the Tourism Infrastructure Fund. This means that the Government will pay almost 50% of the cost of new and improved facilities for tourists in our area, specifically $335,000 of funding for the provision of toilet/shower facilities and rubbish compactors at key tourist spots in the Tasman District.

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