Some sports fields, popular beaches and scenic reserves will be off limits for freedom campers this summer thanks to a new council bylaw.
There was an audible sigh of relief around the table yesterday when councillors signed off on a bylaw to regulate freedom campers in Whangarei after a long process.
Mayor Sheryl Mai quipped the recycling bins would be full - a reference to the amount of paper councillors and staff wrangled through the process.
The Camping in Public Places bylaw was drafted and put out for public consultation in June. The final version, which has provisions for self-contained vehicles as well as non self-contained campers was approved yesterday.
This will come into effect on October 21. All campers are prohibited from 38 locations, while self-contained campers are allowed at four places, both self-contained and non self-contained are allowed at 12 sites and all types of camping allowed at six.
Camping is permitted in designated areas at each of the sites for one night, with the exception of the Bascule Bridge and Reyburn House Lane car park, where campers are allowed to stay for three.
A number of councillors said they were pleased to have something in place for this summer.
Councillor Phil Halse said there are always to be some individual issues but overall the council had come up with a "pretty good bylaw".
Councillors had spent up to 15 hours in briefings and workshops working it out.
Mr Halse said the council had to get the enforcement right.
The enforcement of the bylaw was raised at the meeting in a previous item. Council received a report outlining the six scenarios and costs.
The most expensive is $254,822 for two staff and cars over a summer period of October to April 2 and one staff and car during winter who monitor key sites, visit restricted sites and respond to complaints.
Three of the options are variations on this while the last is a price of $50,000 to $100,000 for warranted officers who respond to complaints all year round.
Councillors resolved to discuss the options at a briefing or workshop.
Signs will be installed in stages, areas of high use or interest will be prioritised and have signage for Labour Weekend, signs at the rest of the sites will be in place by early December.
The council's website and interactive map will be updated for Labour Weekend.
Some of the prohibited locations:
-Sports parks around the district including Hora Hora, Hikurangi, Kamo
-Drummond Park Scenic Reserve (Parihaka Lookout car park)
-Langs Beach/Cove Road beach access and car park
-Matapouri/Morrison Rd car park
-Onerahi Beach Reserve between Cliff St and Johnson St
-Ruakaka Recreation Grounds
-Tikipunga sports park
-Tutukaka Marine Reserve
-Whau Valley Dam