In the picturesque Central Hawke’s Bay region, a surge in tourism has brought the issue of freedom camping to the forefront of community discussion. The local council has proposed a bylaw aimed at managing the influx of campers to ensure that the natural beauty and accessibility of the district’s parks and beaches are preserved for all to enjoy.
The proposed bylaw is a response to the growing pressures on local infrastructure, with the council seeking to strike a delicate balance. By regulating where camping is allowed, the bylaw aims to protect the environment and maintain the quality of life for residents while still providing visitors with the opportunity to experience the region’s unique offerings.
Public participation is crucial in shaping this bylaw, with the council opening a consultation period until January 31, 2024. Residents and stakeholders are encouraged to voice their opinions and contribute to a policy that will impact the future of the district’s public spaces.
In February 2024, a public hearing will provide a platform for individuals to present their submissions in person. This consultative approach underscores the council’s commitment to transparency and community engagement in the decision-making process, as reported by the New Zealand Herald.
Insights from previous consultations, particularly the 2022 Thriving Places and Spaces initiative, have been instrumental in the development of the proposed bylaw. The feedback collected has highlighted areas of concern and helped the council understand the community’s perspective on freedom camping.
The council has taken into account the complaints and suggestions from these earlier engagements, using them to identify specific locations where freedom camping could be detrimental to the environment or disruptive to residents, thereby shaping the proposed restrictions and prohibitions.
The enforcement of the bylaw will fall under the Freedom Camping Act 2011, providing the council with the authority to address non-compliance. This legal backing is essential for maintaining order and ensuring that the bylaw’s regulations are respected.
Potential penalties for breaching the bylaw are designed to deter irresponsible camping practices. These measures reflect the council’s dedication to safeguarding the district’s public spaces while fostering a responsible and sustainable tourism sector.
The council’s collaborative approach has involved consultations with key stakeholders, including local mana whenua, campgrounds, community groups, and the New Zealand Motorhome Caravan Association (NZMCA). Their input is vital in creating a bylaw that is fair and considerate of all interests.
The public is invited to provide feedback through an online survey or by filling out a consultation form available at council facilities or by phone. This inclusive process ensures that every voice can be heard and that the bylaw reflects the collective will of the community.
For those seeking to review the Proposed Freedom Camping Bylaw Statement of Proposal, it is accessible on the council’s website. Additionally, interactive and static maps are available, delineating the areas where freedom camping will be permitted, restricted, or prohibited.