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Changes to freedom camping at Westshore Beach Reserve

The Westshore Beach Reserve is closed until 1 April 2023 pursuant to section 9.1 of the Bylaw.

Why has this site been closed? 

We have had a number of complaints from residents about this site which we have been unable to resolve to their satisfaction or ours. 

What has led to this decision? 

We have been receiving complaints about breaches of the Bylaw at this site since as early as 2014. 

Unfortunately, the behaviour of some visitors has been causing ongoing issues for local residents and we believe the closure of the site is necessary to protect them from those adverse effects. 

The work involved in monitoring the site and responding to complaints outweighs the value of keeping it operating.

Napier has two other freedom camping sites for self-contained vehicles, at the Pump Track, and Perfume Point. A third site, at the foreshore reserve, is for non self-contained vehicles. These sites are located further away from residential areas.

How many complaints have there been? 

The bulk of complaints about freedom camping complaints (over 85%) were about visitors’ behavior at the Westshore freedom camping site. 

What if there are complaints between now and 2023? 

Our usual complaints process will continue. Council compliance officers or our after-hours enforcement contractors (Armourguard) will respond to any complaints we receive.  

Why can't Council close this site permanently? 

The Freedom Camping Bylaw is not due for review until 2026, and we do not have the capacity to undertake a review earlier.  

We will be considering our options for the Westshore site leading up to 1 April 2023. In the meantime, we are closing the site temporarily under section 9.1 of the Bylaw.

Can I still park my vehicle at this site while I use the beach for beach activity, including fishing until late into the evening? 

The site can be used like any other beach reserve, and we encourage our community to enjoy the beach area. The only prohibition is freedom camping, as defined in our bylaw.   [include link to Bylaw]

Can we park our vehicles in the previously allocated freedom camping carparks, during the temporary closure period? 

The entire carpark is open to the public. 

What happens if I choose to ignore the Bylaw and continue to overnight camp? 

This site will be monitored. Any breaches of the Bylaw are likely to result in an Infringement fine of $200. 

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