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News for January 17, 2022

Queenstown to Impose Bylaw to Ensure Environment Protection, Sustainable Camping

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Amid the pandemic’s impact on Queenstown’s tourism industry, Queenstown Lakes District Council (New Zealand) anticipates a rise in returning campers, recognizing the importance of protecting the environment and ensuring that camping is done responsibly and sustainably.

If approved, the Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021 will take effect on Thursday, December 16.

Two hundred eighty-five public submissions were sent to QLDC’s draft Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021 in August and September. Twenty-two submissions were heard in support of their proposals in front of the hearing panel comprising Councilors Calum MacLeod, Niki Gladding, and Craig Ferguson.

QLDC’s General Manager Community Services, Thunes Cloete, acknowledged that most submitters opposed the proposed bylaw because they believed it didn’t sufficiently restrict freedom camping. Some even suggest prohibiting freedom camping all over the district.

The Freedom Camping Act 2011 (FCA) doesn’t allow an absolute ban on the practice. However, the Panel has demanded a range of modifications in the bylaw before the Council, following the submission.

The hearing panel considered the evidence presented and voted in favor of the modifications of the proposed Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021, which includes the ban on freedom camping in Camphill Road Carpark, Morven Ferry Road Reserve, Rees Valley Road, and Kinloch Road.

Furthermore, the proposed Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021 will prohibit freedom camping in the areas of Coronet Peak Road to Skippers Road (including Skippers Saddle), Crown Range Road, Precipice Creek Carpark on Glenorchy-Paradise Road, Moke Lake Road, Rafters Road, and Motutapu Road Track end.

The prohibition on camping on the streets in residential areas will include new residential areas in Hawea Flat and at Wicklow Terrace in Albert Town.

Luggate Red Bridge Reserve will continue to permit limited freedom camping and other areas within the district in which restricted camping will be allowed.

Cloete said that there was a need for the council to maintain its control over freedom camping in the district. He suggested it was decided that a bylaw would be the most appropriate way to achieve this.

“While COVID-19 has affected visitor numbers in the last two years, we will eventually see higher numbers of campers returning to the Queenstown Lakes, and the need remains for Council to continue protecting our unique environment and ensuring all camping is undertaken in a responsible and sustainable way,” Cloete added.

The report that will be presented to Council on Thursday also requests elected members to accept that if there are any modifications in or amendments to the New Zealand Self-Containment Standards or applicable freedom camping legislation, an examination of these changes will be carried out to determine if changes are needed in Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021.

If the legislation is approved, the Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021 will take effect on Thursday, December 16. It could mean the repeal of the present Freedom Camping Bylaw 2019 on the same date.

To read QLDC’s proposed Freedom Camping Bylaw 2021, click here.

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