Total ban for Marine Parade freedom camping

By John Cousins

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Marine Parade residents living east of Banks Ave have won the battle for a permanent ban to be imposed on free campers parking up overnight on the beach side of the road.

They succeeded in turning around a previous 6-4 council vote to allow a limited ban on self-contained motor homes from December 1 to February 8.

Today's 7-2 vote followed a two hour session dominated by residents arguing against motor homes being allowed to to overnight for 10 months of the year between Banks Ave and Oceanbeach Rd. The rest of Marine Parade to Mauao was already covered by a year -round ban on nighttime park-ups.

Only councillors Terry Molloy and Murray Guy ended opposing the move by Mount Maunganui councillor Wayne Moultrie to extend the ban to cover the whole of Marine Parade.

Arguments mounted by residents included cyclist and pedestrian safety caused by big motor homes in the angle parks, that their lifestyles would be ruined by the wall-to-wall freedom campers and that they would take up carparks in an area where parking was already at a premium on fine days.

Cr Molloy said they needed to be consistent and what was good for Marine Parade must be good for the rest of the city. He thought allowing 20 to 30 parks for motor homes would be a reasonable compromise.

Cr Guy said the nub of residents' arguments that their views would be impacted was not a valid consideration for the bylaw. He said there were appropriate mechanisms for the council if residents' fears came to fruition.

Councillor Tony Christiansen was on leave and did not attend the meeting and Mayor Stuart Crosby declared an interest because his brother owned the Papamoa Beach motor
camp and submitted against the Freedom Camping Bylaw.

Councillors Larry Baldock, Rick Curach, Bill Faulkner, Bill Grainger, Wayne Moultrie, Catherine Stewart and David Stewart supporting the change.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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