Freedom camping in the Western Bay has gained additional funding to increase public awareness, security and monitoring of freedom camping requirements in the district.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council has secured $133,032 from the Responsible Camping Working Group to dedicate resources to monitoring, use of facilities, public education and environmental protection around freedom camping areas.

The funding will be spread across many freedom camping needs and is part of an $8.5 million package from central government to support councils in addressing freedom camping issues.

Earlier this week Tauranga City Council announced they had also secured a $183,000 grant from central government to enhance Tauranga city's freedom camping initiatives.

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Western Bay of Plenty District Council Compliance and Monitoring Manager Alison Curtis said the funding was welcome at a time where freedom camping was growing in popularity particularly at Waihī Beach, Tuapiro Point and Ōmokoroa.

"The funding will go towards education, monitoring and enforcement. It will be spread across the district from Waihī Beach where freedom camping needs greater monitoring during summer, to Te Puke where freedom camping has become an issue during peak kiwifruit harvest."

Curtis said some money would be put into supporting the new KiwiCamp facility at the Seaforth Rd carpark.

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"This facility is expected to be popular and will require additional servicing and monitoring. The funding will enable more rubbish services, additional carpark maintenance, monitoring and enforcement plus funding for a new CCTV camera."

Sand dunes near the new KiwiCamp facility will be prone to damage from the high use of access areas by freedom campers. To protect the dunes, $20,000 will be spent on maintaining accessways and ensuring the public only uses approved accessways, not via the dunes on to the beach.

In Te Puke, the council has been trialling a freedom camping education programme offering information booklets and one-on-one advice to freedom campers as to where they can stay overnight.

The additional $20,000 would enable the council to continue working with freedom campers in the area.

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Funding would provide security officers with field technology Ticketor for recording and issuing warnings and infringements.

The Ticketor system would help identify problem campers and identify "hot spots" where more frequent monitoring or enforcement was required.

Freedom Camping must be in a self-contained vehicle, clearly displaying NZS5465:2001 certification. Non-self-contained vehicles and campers with tents must camp in licensed camping ground to meet the councils requirements.

Western Bay's funding will be spent on:
- Freedom Camping Education Programme in Te Puke ($20,000)
- monitoring and enforcement across the Western Bay ($60,000)
- field technology for recording freedom camping warnings and infringements Ticketor ($13,032)
- increased servicing of toilet and rubbish facilities ($20,000)
-protection of sand dunes near KiwiCamp facility on Seaforth Road ($20,000).

For full information on freedom camping and where to camp visit: https://www.westernbay.govt.nz/rules-regulations-and-licenses/freedom-camping