German freedom campers Anna Bregulla (left) and Annika Maier at Tahunanui Beach yesterday.

Gates at Reilly Street to stop freedom camping

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Tasman District Council is installing gates and a gravel bund to block vehicle access to the informal Reilly Street freedom camping area after concerns about pollution, noise and public safety.

The Council’s Environment and Planning Committee chairman Tim King said use of the area by freedom campers and other permanent occupants at the Takaka River end of Reilly Street had reached unforeseen levels this summer, with reports of up to 400 people staying there at any one time.

“After consultation with the land owner and Community Board the only practical solution open to us to address freedom camping on private land at Reilly Street is to block vehicles from entering the site. The public will still be able to get to the river for swimming and recreation on foot.”

The gates will be in place by April 1, in order to give those who have set up permanent camp the chance to find other accommodation.

“This isn’t a total solution to problems associated with freedom camping in Golden Bay but it will help address the issues at Reilly Street,” says Tim.

“We’re reviewing our freedom camping bylaw this year, and also hoping for some greater assistance and direction from central Government, so work is ongoing to identify the best way to manage freedom camping in Tasman District.”