Freedom camping in the spotlight

Daily monitoring of freedom camping spots across Western Bay will begin in mid-December and extend until early February 2018.

Weekend monitoring started in Waihi Beach on Labour Weekend but will increase to daily monitoring from 15 December until 5 February 2018.

First Security has been contracted by Western Bay of Plenty District Council to carry out mobile patrols to ensure campers are complying with Council's Freedom Camping Bylaw.

This is the second year First Security has monitored freedom campers in the District.

Council's Compliance Manager Alison Curtis says last year's monitoring programme was successful in resolving community anxiety about illegal camping in the District's most popular areas.

Under Council's bylaw, only campers who have a self-contained vehicle can lawfully park in freedom camping areas. A self-contained vehicle must meet the Caravan Self-Containment Certification Standard.

The unit must be able to be lived in for three days without getting more water or without dumping waste. It must have a toilet; fresh water storage and wastewater storage.

Illegal freedom camping is liable for a $200 fine. In addition, instant fines of $200 can be issued for each of the following breaches of the law:

  • Camping or preparing to camp in prohibited areas

  • Damage to the camping area

  • Dumping waste or rubbish

  • Refusing to leave when asked

  • Refusing to give information to the enforcement officer

  • Camping without a toilet in a parking area that allows only for self-contained vehicles.

Campers can potentially be issued with seven separate infringement notices from one site visit if all these conditions are not met.

Tenting is prohibited in all freedom camping areas except in TECT All Terrain Park where it is allowed provided permission is granted by the Park Manager.

Anyone concerned about freedom campers can contact Council's 24-hour monitoring service, phone 0800 926 732.

Details of Council's Freedom Camping Bylaw and maps of freedom camping areas can be found on our website http://www.westernbay.govt.nz/our-facilities/parks-walks-camping/freedom-camping/Pages/default.aspx

For details on self-contained vehicles visit; Caravan Self Containment Certification: NZS 5465  http://www.mfe.govt.nz/waste/guidance-and-resources/freedom-camping-and-caravan-waste

Page reviewed: 11 Dec 2017 11:22am