Freedom camping funding for the district
Ōpōtiki District Council has been successful in securing $214,000 from the Freedom Camping Transition Fund administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). This will assist Council with management of freedom camping in the district over the busy summer holiday period.
Councils’ Planning and Regulatory Group Manager, Gerard McCormack, said that the district had benefited from central government funding for several years and the year it was not made available, complaints increased noticeably.
“Previously we have used central government funding to help us during the busy summer months to carry out monitoring, compliance and education programs at each of our freedom camping sites. We see a noticeable difference when we do so – complaint numbers drop, visitor numbers rise and generally campers enjoy themselves more and locals are more comfortable and encouraging of responsible, independent campers in the district.
“We’ll use the funding to help us review our Freedom Camping bylaw and reserves management plan so that they are clearer and align with national changes. We also use it to help with costs over the peak season monitoring numbers and compliance at our reserves.
“As I said at the last Council meeting, we absolutely focus on education and information as the first way forward with campers who are staying longer or not aligning with our rules. And that tends to be well-received and the conversations are an opportunity to highlight some of the other great activities, festivals and areas of the district,” Mr McCormack said.