Council confirms direction of freedom camping site assessment

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Nelson City Council continues to progress the development of a draft Freedom Camping Bylaw for Nelson City. At Thursday’s meeting, council confirmed the site assessment that will form the basis for bylaw consultation with the community.

The site assessment identifies council owned land throughout the city, which has the potential to be used for freedom camping. It assesses each site against specific criteria, as laid out in the Freedom Camping Act 2011 and recommends the nature of freedom camping to be proposed in these areas.

“Under the Freedom Camping Act we are able to impose restrictions through a bylaw to protect an area, protect the health and safety of people who may visit the area, and to protect access to the area,” says mayor Rachel Reese. “This site assessment has taken a thorough look at Nelson and has made a series of recommendations. As a council, we were comfortable with the findings. The next step will be to share them publicly and then get everyone’s feedback through the upcoming consultation process.”

The key aspects of the site assessment are that non-self-contained camping must be within an official campground and that self-contained camping is to be permitted in the following locations. Vehicle limits will also apply. Areas including Nelson North Wastewater Treatment Plant car park (2 vehicles), Kinzett Terrace car park (4), Maitai Cricket Ground (2), Wakapuaka Reserve (3), Centennial Park (4), Paddy’s Knob (4), QEII Reserve (all available spaces), Wakatu Square (20), Montgomery Square (20), Buxton Square (20) and Main Road Stoke car park, Isel (3).

The draft Nelson City Freedom Camping Bylaw, including the site assessment, will be brought to council for adoption before being released for public consultation. Council hopes to have the bylaw in place in time for the summer season.