12 Jul 2018

Council to consult over Akaroa freedom camping ban

5:42 pm on 12 July 2018

Some Christchurch city councillors are worried a proposed ban on freedom camping in Akaroa won't solve the problem.

Freedom camping

Photo: RNZ

The council says huge numbers of freedom campers flocked to the tourist spot last summer.

Human waste, litter, and camping in public places led to a stack of complaints from residents.

More than three quarters of Akaroa locals surveyed earlier this year by the Christchurch City Council said freedom camping was a problem, and more than 80 percent said the current rules were not working.

Currently, freedom camping is only banned in commercial and waterfront areas of Akaroa - campers could stay in other parts of the town for up to two nights in self-contained vehicles.

Now the council wants to ban freedom campers from most of the area as part of its review of the freedom camping bylaw.

Public consultation will begin on 1 August.

But during a meeting today, councillor Yani Johanson said it was important to think about the resources that would be needed to enforce the ban.

"One of the concerns, and what we saw last time, is when we ban it in certain areas it just pops up somewhere else and then we don't have the resources to adjust it, so I am a little bit concerned."

However, Banks Peninsula councillor and deputy mayor Andrew Turner praised the proposed changes.

"It is clear from the results of a community survey conducted earlier this year and from the feedback we received over the summer months that the volume of freedom campers in Akaroa, and the disrespectful behaviour of some, is having a significant impact on the community," he said.

The proposal responded to the community's concerns and should ensure that any freedom camping in Akaroa would be better addressed this summer, he said.

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