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Council ponders freedom camping changes

Napier City Council is considering restricting the number of self-contained motor vehicles that can park up for the night at Westshore and Perfume Point.

Councillors considered and discussed the 197 submissions received on the proposed Freedom Camping Bylaw 2016. Sixteen spoke in person to their submissions at the hearing, held at the Century Theatre.

The proposed recommendations are: that a maximum of four self-contained vehicles, as suggested by the New Zealand Motor Caravan Association, be allowed to park in the car park at the end of Domain Road, Westshore, a maximum of seven at Perfume Point, and that McLean Park be added to the list of sites where freedom camping is prohibited.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton cautioned councillors that restricting parking required more stringent management however says that by and large, the proposed changes would “provide a much better balance in the provision of freedom camping and carparking across the city, while protecting both tourism and local residents’ interests.”

Following a discussion about the suitability of the car park for non-self contained vehicles at the southern end of Marine Parade, Council is also considering a temporary closure of this car park, for safety reasons. The Council is currently working through issues raised by the community about this site, which is accessed off State Highway 2, with the New Zealand Transport Authority.

Council is also seeking legal advice on whether it can ban non-self contained vehicles from the southern Marine Parade site in Napier altogether, which is something councils in Hastings, Taupo and Queenstown have recently tried.

Any changes to the freedom camping bylaw for Napier are likely to be ratified at the next full Council meeting on 14 December.

12 May 2017

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