Council to continue with lucrative freedom camping patrols

Waikato District Council’s new Freedom Camping Bylaw is proving lucrative, with more than 300 fines for breaches handed out since patrols began in December.

Council senior communications advisor Sheryl Flay said 309 infringements had been issued, of which 65 had been withdrawn and 58 had already been paid.

The fine for freedom camping in a prohibited area is $200, which means WDC would collect $48,800 for the 244 infringements issued in about three months.

The Freedom Camping Bylaw came into force in October and prohibits freedom camping in a number of areas, including the CBD, the wharf, Cliff St, Wainui Reserve, Whale Bay, Manu Bay and Ruapuke Beach.

Ms Flay said the council would continue with the patrols to ensure compliance of the new bylaw – it was originally a three-month contract that ended on March 1.

She said the contractor had experienced issues of hostility, rubbish and mess during his patrols, “however there were no physical incidents”.

During the three months of patrols the council had received only two complaints regarding freedom camping.

“The bylaw has informed people that they cannot freedom camp in certain areas. There are no proposals for any changes (to the bylaw) at this point in time.”

Inger Vos