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Saturday, 23 February 2019 06:38 am

Mixed views on city council’s freedom camping plan

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POSSIBLE CAMPSITES: From left, Evans Bay carpark, Te Raikaihau Head and Owhiro Bay.

PEOPLE living near proposed ‘freedom camping’ sites have mixed views on Wellington City Council’s tourism proposal.

Some dread the extra rubbish while others welcome the idea. Freedom camping is defined as camping within 200 metres of a motor vehicle-accessible area, according to the Freedom Camping Act.

The council has proposed changes to the camping bylaws to manage camping visitors and provide more camping opportunities.

New Wellington sites may become available for camping in campervans for up to four nights at a time.

The targeted areas are part of the car park by the Evans Bay Yacht and Motor Boat Club, a stretch of land just to the east of Houghton Bay, where the Esplanade and Queens Drive meet, and the car park at Owhiro Bay.

TOPThese areas would have prohibited camping rights to campers in self-contained campervans which means they would be allowed to stay there for up to four nights in a calendar month.

One Evans Bay resident said she was opposed to the council’s proposition and had made a written submission against the proposal.

She said the proposed area at Evans Bay was a public space and was widely used for various activities.

“There is already enough rubbish in the area as well, and as much as they try not to, campers bring rubbish. Me and my husband already go and pick up the rubbish now, so we don’t want more.”

A couple of Owhiro Bay residents spoken to by Newswire were all for the proposal, saying it’s a nice area for everyone to use.

John Harding hadn’t heard about the proposal, but he said it sounded like a great idea.

“I don’t have any issues with it, but they could put one of those tanks in.

“I think Wellington has appalling camping areas available. If I was a foreigner and I got off the ferry, I wouldn’t even know where to begin looking,” he said.

“I certainly have no objections to it, they should make the toilet facilities available so they can say, ‘here are the toilets, knock yourself out, stay four nights’. I think it’s a great idea.”

Mr Harding thinks the council needs to do up the Evans Bay area before offering it, as it doesn’t seem very attractive to campers.

Another Owhiro Bay resident, Val Wahren, said she had received the council’s proposal in the mail and she had no objections.

“I’ve been here 60 years. It is only the young idiots that would be camping and drinking that would be a nuisance, but this doesn’t apply to them, as it applies to overseas visitors,” Ms Wahren said.

The council will meet this month to consider the proposal and will be hearing any oral submissions. Written submission entries closed October 4.

Councillors will make a final decision in December.

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is a Whitireia journalism student with a strong interest in sports writing. Jesse covers the Te Aro area. He has a BA in Development Studies.
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