Feedback is being sought on the freedom of freedom campers in Tauranga.

From today, consultation begins on Tauranga City Council's draft Freedom Camping Bylaw 2019.

The bylaw governs freedom camping in Tauranga, setting rules and defining areas of council land where freedom camping is allowed or prohibited.

The council has proposed some changes to the bylaw and used feedback from residents on how people want to enjoy public places.

Proposed changes include:
- increasing the number of freedom camping sites at Mount Greens car park (five to 10), Cambridge Park (two to six), Carlton St Reserve (six to eight) and Marine Park 1 (eight all year round), establishing Marine Park 2 as a new freedom camping area, no longer allowing freedom camping in Macville Park, Omanu Surf Club car park, Sulphur Point, Ocean Downs Reserve, Cliff Rd car park and Shadelands Lane, reducing the number of freedom camping sites at Kulim Park from five to two.

Other changes include giving the council the ability to make permanent changes to designated freedom camping sites through a publically notified resolution, and the ability for council to temporarily allow, modify or prohibit freedom camping in an area for things like an event or park maintenance.

Full details of the proposed changes and why we want to make them are available on council's website:

Residents can provide feedback on the draft bylaw by completing the online submission form. Paper copies are also available at the council's customer service centre at 91 Willow St and in city libraries.

This formal consultation process is the last opportunity for the community to have their say before the changes become law. The consultation period ends on February 22.

Submission hearings will take place on March 27. The community's feedback will be used to propose a final revised bylaw for adoption by council in May.

Bylaws are special rules that apply in the Tauranga area only. They help make sure people can live, work and play in Tauranga safely and free from nuisance. Not complying with a bylaw can result in fines, prosecutions and seizure of property.