Disturbing noises, freeloading and car parks left littered with rubbish are just some of the concerns raised by residents and businesses from freedom camping in Tauranga.
Twenty-eight people addressed the policy committee at the Tauranga City Council on Tuesday and yesterday to air their feedback on the draft Freedom Camping Bylaw. The bylaw proposes opening up new areas to camping and further restricting it in others. More than 250 submissions were received in total.
Pāpāmoa Beach Resort owner Bruce Crosby said in his written submission that he generally agreed with the proposed changes, but he objected to the sites at Stella Place and at the Pāpāmoa Domain.
He said these sites at each end of his campsite should be removed as unruly campers who stayed there were abusive to staff and were "stealing showers" by wrongfully using his campsite facilities without paying.
"Our paying guests contribute over $7 million to the local economy every year and ... our business is an important asset to the community that should be looked after," he said.
The New Zealand Motor Caravan Association's submission said the proposed bylaw was "unnecessarily prohibitive" towards responsible freedom campers travelling in certified self-contained vehicles and might result in a virtual ban of freedom camping in the area when combined with other local policies and rules.
The association, which represents New Zealand motor vehicle campers, called freedom camping a "traditional and beneficial" activity which brings economic benefit to the country.
Ngaere Pennell, who lives next to Greerton Rd carpark, said in a written submission that freedom campers using the car park were disruptive and messy.
She said the campers blasted loud music, used drugs, made loud and disturbing noises, and left rubbish including dirty nappies and used condoms when they left.
Katikati resident and motorhome owner Chris Gaelic said in his written submission that the main issue with large self-contained vans parking in car parks was the space the vehicles took up when residents wanted to use the space during the day.
Car parks were then left empty overnight when the residents went home.
He suggested that campers be permitted to stay overnight between set times in designated spaces.
The council will deliberate on all submissions at its May 2019 meeting.
Freedom Camping Bylaw 2019 Proposed Changes
- Permit restricted freedom camping at Marine Park 2.
- Prohibit freedom camping at Macville Park, Oceandowns Reserve, Omanu Surf Club
car park, Sulphur Point, Shadelands Lane and Cliff Road car park
- Reduce the number of freedom camping vehicles permitted at Kulim Park from five to two
- Increase the number of freedom camping vehicles permitted at Mount Greens car
park, Cambridge Park, Carlton Reserve and Marine Park 1
- Provide maps to show where freedom camping is restricted or prohibited.