Western Bay gains freedom camping funding

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Western Bay of Plenty District Council has been successful in receiving $133,032 from the Responsible Camping Working Group to dedicate resources to monitoring, use of facilities, public education and environmental protection around freedom camping areas.

The funding will be spread across many freedom camping needs and is part of an $8.5 million package from Central Government to support councils in addressing freedom camping issues.

Western Bay’s funding will be spent on:

  • Freedom Camping Education Programme in Te Puke ($20,000)
  • monitoring and enforcement across the Western Bay ($60,000)
  • field technology for recording freedom camping warnings and infringements Ticketor ($13,032)
  • increased servicing of toilet and rubbish facilities ($20,000)
  • protection of sand dunes near KiwiCamp facility on Seaforth Road ($20,000).

Council’s Compliance and Monitoring Manager, Alison Curtis, says the funding is welcome at a time where freedom camping is growing in popularity particularly at Waihi Beach, Tuapiro Point and Omokoroa.

“The funding will go towards education, monitoring and enforcement. It will be spread across the District from Waihi Beach where freedom camping needs greater monitoring during summer, to Te Puke where freedom camping has become an issue during peak kiwifruit harvest.”

Some money will be put into supporting the new KiwiCamp facility at the Seaforth Road carpark, says Alison.

“This facility is expected to be popular and will require additional servicing and monitoring. The funding will enable more rubbish services, additional carpark maintenance, monitoring and enforcement plus funding for a new CCTV camera.”

Sand dunes near the new KiwiCamp facility will be prone to damage from the high use of access areas by freedom campers. To protect the dunes, $20,000 will be spent on maintaining accessways and ensuring the public only uses approved accessways, not via the dunes on to the beach.

In Te Puke, Council has been trialling a freedom camping education programme offering information booklets and one-on-one advice to freedom campers as to where they can stay overnight. The additional $20,000 will enable Council to continue working with freedom campers in the area.

Funding will provide security officers with field technology Ticketor for recording and issuing warnings and infringements. 

The Ticketor system will help identify problem campers and identify “hot spots” where more frequent monitoring or enforcement is required. 

Freedom Camping must be in a self-contained vehicle, clearly displaying NZS5465:2001 certification. Non-self-contained vehicles and campers with tents must camp in licensed camping ground to meet Councils requirements.

For full information on freedom camping and where to camp visit: https://www.westernbay.govt.nz/rules-regulations-and-licenses/freedom-camping