• Proposal to create sites in other parts of the city
• 65 sites being assessed for inclusion in the pilot, 15-20 expected to make final cut
• Consultation to begin with local boards in December
• Trial set to begin in February if given green light
• Trial results presented to local boards in April. Possibility of a new bylaw being created depending on the results
Freedom campers might be able to pitch their tents across more of Auckland this summer.
Under current bylaws freedom camping is only allowed at 12 sites in three parts of the city - the Franklin, Hibiscus and Bays and Rodney local board areas.
However, under a new proposed trial that could start in February campers would be able to set up for the night in many other parts of the city too.
Auckland Council sent local board members information about the proposal yesterday. It said freedom campers were over-crowding designated sites and illegally camping at other popular coastal and metropolitan destinations outside the designated areas.
The pilot aims to double capacity for freedom campers to sleep in designated areas - and to encourage them to see more of the city. It said freedom campers "are spending as much as $1.2 million in Auckland", and they "spend more and stay longer than other tourists".
Auckland Council social policy and bylaws manager Mike Sinclair said about 60 sites that might be suitable for the pilot had been identified during the investigation phase. It is expected those would reduce to between 15 and 20 following consultation at local board workshops next month.
"If the pilot goes ahead, we would expect sites to be prepared with additional resources, such as parking, toilet and rubbish facilities, in January and for the pilot to take place during February and March."
Devonport-Takapuna Local Board deputy chairman George Wood told the Herald he expects a large public backlash to the scheme.
"I would say it will be highly contentious once people hear about it.
"People have had enough problems in the past... in their areas, we have problems with people camping in the beach reserves. From my point of view it's definitely not a goer."
The former North Shore mayor and ex-councillor was also disappointed that the local boards weren't consulted on the proposal before it was drawn up.
"This matter should definitely have been discussed before they put out a report like this with the local boards."
The proposed dates for the pilot were too soon, Wood said.
"It's come completely out of left-field. We've been told at the eleventh hour that this is going to happen in our area."
Wood believes there are enough areas for campers in Auckland already.
"It's not as if we don't have locations where they can go and set up."
In the information sent out to local board members, the proposal is described as a "new approach to managing the issues associated with freedom camping in Auckland".
Wood said he was "not really au fait" with problems with freedom camping in the city.
"I know that it may be a problem to some extent... but I know that they don't have any authority to camp where they do, but giving them authority... it's going to be a cost to council."