Whanganui District Council is inviting submissions from the community on its proposed freedom camping bylaw.
Council corporate general manager Stephanie Macdonald-Rose said the council did not have the ability to ban freedom camping outright.
"Under the Freedom Camping Act 2011, the council can create a bylaw to protect an area, protect the health and safety of people who may visit the area, or protect access to the area.
"Up until now, we have encouraged the use of our local freedom camping sites, while taking into account feedback from the community relating to freedom campers."
Macdonald-Rose said the council's general position was that freedom camping was a positive activity for Whanganui.
"However, to satisfy the needs of both the community and travellers, we're proposing to limit the number of nights freedom campers can stay in several areas around Whanganui.
"Most community concerns have focused on the length of time travellers are freedom camping and the areas where they're staying – in particular in relation to Kowhai Park and Springvale Park. Other issues raised have been about the loss of views due to parked vehicles and concerns about the environmental impacts of freedom camping."
According to council surveys of freedom campers during the 2019-20 summer season, most campers visiting Whanganui have been domestic travellers aged 50 and over.
Macdonald-Rose said these travellers were usually passing through the district and their stays were limited to just a few days.
"We'd also like to limit the number of vehicles that can be freedom camping at any one time in these areas, and restrict camping to certified self-contained vehicles where appropriate. Restrictions would be placed on freedom campers in the proposed permitted areas and freedom camping banned in other places."
Restricted areas would be open to regular parking as well as freedom camping, but freedom campers would be subject to rules such as a maximum number of nights' stay and maximum vehicle numbers.
Campers who breached these rules would be subject to a fine of $200 imposed by council officers.
For information on the proposed freedom camping bylaw and to have your say via a submission, go to whanganui.govt.nz/have-your-say. Submissions can also be emailed to email@example.com.
Hard copies of the proposed policy, statement of proposal and submission form are also available from council customer services at 101 Guyton St, and the Davis and Gonville libraries. Submissions close at 5pm on Sunday, September 5.