Whananaki North residents are calling for freedom camping to be banned from their local seaside reserve after complaints of urinating in the sea and nudity.
The Whananaki Beach Residents and Ratepayers Association will be among more than two dozen people raising their freedom camping concerns at next week's Whangārei District Council (WDC)'s Camping in Public Places Bylaw review submissions hearing.
Whangārei's faced a huge 160 per cent increase in freedom campers into the district in the last five years. Thirteen thousand freedom camping vehicles visited Whangārei last summer – up from 5000 in 2017/2018.
Wendy O'Shea, Whananaki Beach Residents and Ratepayers Association chairwoman, said problems of nudity and urinating in the sea, along with issues of limited toilet capacity and overcrowding on the tennis court-sized Whananaki North estuary site created ongoing issues locally.
The association will be calling on freedom camping to be prohibited from the site, or at the least banned over the peak summer season.
Its submission is among more than 200 to WDC about its first-time Camping in Public Places Bylaw review – and associated proposed change to the Public Places Bylaw 2014 - after a just-finished month-long public consultation.
The submissions will be published on the council's website before next week's hearing.
Whangārei District Council councillors will hear from at least 30 submitters at the December 8 council meeting hearing.
, strategic planner (bylaws), said there had been 207 submissions, almost double what had been received when the 2017 bylaw first came in. A petition had also been received.
Strohush said in her December 8 submission hearing agenda item that late registrations for the hearing would also be added if needed.
She said people who wanted to speak to the council on the freedom camping bylaw review no longer had to have made a written submission first.
"It is no longer a requirement that written submissions are provided in order to speak to council on the matter being consulted on."
Jan Boyes', Whangārei Heads Citizens Association chairwoman, is urging all those interested in freedom camping's impact around the district to attend the hearing.
Boyes will be among those speaking, along with the Whangārei Heads association.
The hearing comes shortly after Tourism Minister Stuart Nash spoke out against freedom camping's non-self contained vehicles.
"I certainly want tighter controls on this industry. I want to know what's possible and how we can ensure our long-suffering ratepayers and residents in the most idyllic parts of the country aren't left cleaning up human waste," Nash said.
WDC will produce a summary report from the meeting. This will be used at a follow-up deliberations hearing expected for later this month or in February.
The council has said permanent vehicle dwellers are outside the intent of the Camping in Public Places Bylaw.
But expected hearing submitters include several from the Whangārei Vehicle Dwellers group which is calling for the bylaw to be revoked with changes to rules around self-containment.
Margaret Hicks, longtime Ruakaka environmental campaigner, will be presenting to the hearing. She has called for freedom camping to be prohibited at Marsden Point's Ralph Trimmer Drive, Peter Snell Rd, Sime Rd, Mair Rd's Department of Conservation carpark and Billar Rd.
James Imlach, New Zealand Motor Caravan Association (NZMCA) manager for property and policy and expected hearing submitter, said WDC should maintain a permissive approach to freedom camping to accommodate growth in camping vehicles.