After listening to public feedback, including 42 complaints since 1 December, New Plymouth District Mayor Neil Holdom is calling for tighter controls around freedom camping and a special Mayoral report will be debated at an extraordinary council meeting tomorrow (30 January).
The report (see www.newplymouthnz.com) recommends the temporary closure of the Waiwhakaiho River Mouth area to freedom camping, and the temporary restriction of freedom camping at East End Beach car park (six spaces only), the Wind Wand car park (two spaces only) and Kawaroa car park (15 spaces only) until 30 April 2018. At the end of April, the full Freedom Camping Bylaw will be reviewed.
“At the heart of this issue is making sure locals can still use these popular and pristine areas that make us a Lifestyle Capital. In the last month, more than 700 freedom campers have enjoyed some of our best spots and while we always welcome visitors, these unprecedented numbers are putting pressure on our facilities resulting in overcrowding, littering, wasting water and the visual pollution that comes with having a large number of vehicles in our most beautiful places,” says Mr Holdom.
“We welcome visitors to Taranaki but at Waiwhakaiho we have been overrun, our own people have been excluded from their favourite spots and we cannot wait until the end of summer to deal with the issue.
“I am recommending to my fellow councillors we take some immediate steps to reduce the concentration of campers at Waiwhakaiho, protect our environment and ensure ongoing local access to our favourite coastal spots within the urban area of New Plymouth.”
NPDC has installed extra portable toilets, rubbish collection and security to help alleviate the impact. It is also working with a popular freedom camping app to provide alternative sites.
If the Mayoral recommendation is endorsed, these temporary restrictions will begin on Saturday (3 February 2018).