A Hearings Panel will recommend Christchurch City Council make a bylaw change to ban freedom camping in all but one area of the township of Akaroa.
“After considering submissions from the public and weighing all the evidence, the Hearings Panel believe tighter restrictions are needed on freedom camping in Akaroa,’’ says Deputy Mayor and Banks Peninsula Councillor Andrew Turner.
Under the existing Freedom Camping Bylaw, freedom camping is banned in Akaroa’s commercial area and main waterfront areas, but is allowed in other areas around Akaroa for up to two nights in self-contained vehicles.
Cr Turner says the Hearings Panel will be recommending the Council amend the bylaw to prohibit freedom camping in all parts of the Akaroa township, except for in the existing Akaroa freedom camping area.
Currently there is space for around 16 freedom camping vehicles in the Akaroa freedom camping area.
The Hearings Panel will be recommending the Council increase the size of that area so 18 vehicles can be accommodated - eight larger and 10 medium-sized freedom camping vehicles.
Only certified self-contained vehicles are allowed to freedom camp, and in the designated area in Akaroa, they can only stay for a maximum of two nights in any 30-day period.
“The public submissions we received showed mixed views on freedom camping, but general support for tougher restrictions to help reduce the negative impacts from freedom camping in Akaroa, which reflects the findings of a community survey done earlier this year,’’ Cr Turner says.
“The volume of freedom campers in Akaroa last summer and the disrespectful behaviour of some had a significant impact on the community. Changing the bylaw to ban freedom camping in all but one area of Akaroa should ensure freedom campers have less of a negative impact on the town this summer, while also allowing responsible freedom campers to enjoy what Akaroa has to offer.’’
If the Hearings Panel’s recommendations are accepted by the Council at its November meeting, the new restrictions on freedom camping in Akaroa will apply from 1 December this year.