Council to start fining freedom campers in breach of bylaw

Waikato District Council will hand out $200 fines to freedom campers who breach the new bylaw over the summer holiday period.

The council has hired a contractor to carry out freedom camping patrols. It’s a part-time, fixed position that started on December 1 and will end on March 1, at which time the contract will be reviewed.

The Freedom Camping Bylaw 2016 came into force in October and prohibits freedom camping in a number of areas in Raglan, including the CBD, Cliff St, the wharf and Wainui Reserve car park.

WDC general manager customer support Sue Duignan said random and scheduled patrols would focus on the prohibited areas and the contractor would also respond to any complaints received.

She said no fines had been handed out at this stage as the contractor had been focusing on educating the public about the new freedom camping rules for the district.

She said freedom campers who had been found breaching the bylaw had been cooperative and moved on.

“We have been handing out fliers to campers and we have also placed these fliers at the local i-Site. As well as this, we have been in contact with various camping associations to inform them of the bylaw.

“We will start issuing infringements in the Christmas, New Year period.”

Ms Duignan said the council had received four complaints regarding freedom camping since the new bylaw was put in place.

New signs pointing out freedom camping restrictions have been made and will be put up at key sites around Raglan before Christmas.

“These signs have been created to clearly show the prohibited areas. However, if you don’t see a sign, don’t assume that you can freedom camp in that spot. We are asking people to check out the information on our website, including the bylaw and other camping options in the district.”

Inger Vos