Stricter freedom tenting guidelines: Councils face Excessive Courtroom problem

Campervan, motorhome, RV, freedom camping.

2021-04-06 13:20:22

Freedom tenting guidelines in two fashionable vacationer areas are being challenged within the Excessive Courtroom by a nationwide caravan group for being too restrictive.

Campervan, motorhome, RV, freedom camping.

Photograph: Unsplash / Hanson Lu

The New Zealand Motor Caravan Affiliation board has agreed to ask the Excessive Courtroom to evaluation the Marlborough District Council’s new freedom tenting bylaw. The affiliation is difficult comparable guidelines within the Queenstown-Lakes district.

Queenstown-Lakes was the second-most fashionable freedom tenting vacation spot within the South Island earlier than the coronavirus lockdown and Marlborough was the fourth-most fashionable, in response to analysis by the Ministry of Enterprise, Innovation and Employment.

Marlborough has since put an finish to freedom tenting at eight council websites and dominated visiting automobiles have to be self-contained. The affiliation stated it discovered these actions have been “disproportionate and unreasonable”.

It additionally believed the general public was not consulted a few second drafting of the bylaw, and that the bylaw undermined the Freedom Tenting Act, which guided the bylaw evaluation, and stated councils “should not completely prohibit freedom tenting” of their areas.

Affiliation chief government Bruce Lochore stated Marlborough’s councillors had failed of their duties by “ignoring” an unbiased skilled employed by the council to conduct a region-wide freedom tenting evaluation. The skilled really helpful the council enable freedom tenting all over the place besides sure websites, divulge heart’s contents to 4 new freedom tenting websites within the area, and shut one other two.

As an alternative, councillors agreed to not open new websites and shut eight current ones after the bylaw’s proposals drew the ire of residents.

“They paid folks for the work, then the council ignored it,” Lochore stated.

Lochore stated the affiliation’s legal professionals had been instructed to submit their case to the Excessive Courtroom “as shortly as they [could]”. He was uncertain which Excessive Courtroom the case can be taken to, or when.

“It is simply disappointing that we have now to do that. We have spent years making an attempt to speak to [the Marlborough District Council] sensibly … In the event that they’d taken that skilled recommendation, the council would not be right here.”

A council spokesperson stated this week it was inappropriate for the council to remark because it concerned the potential for authorized motion.

The affiliation had been making ready to problem Queenstown-Lakes District Council’s freedom tenting guidelines, put down in late 2019, for comparable causes when New Zealand went into lockdown.

It held off on asking for a judicial evaluation final yr, so the council might concentrate on managing the consequences of the nationwide lockdown.

“We tried to work with the council [last year]. We would already knowledgeable them we have been going to take them to court docket, however we wished to create the chance for an answer, so we did not need to. However that failed.”

Queenstown-Lakes District Council chief government Mike Theelen stated in a press release the council was in search of authorized recommendation.

Queenstown’s new freedom tenting bylaw required automobiles visiting council websites to be self-contained and transfer on after two nights, after vacationers didn’t respect the areas they camped in.

Theelen stated the council had already begun reviewing the bylaw.

“Our district has lengthy been a mecca for freedom campers of all styles and sizes and the [council’s freedom camping] bylaw evaluation in 2019 sought to steadiness the wants and expectations of campers and our native communities, whose areas usually bore the brunt of overuse and, at occasions, very anti-social conduct (sic) by some.”

Queenstown-Lakes District Council stated it was dedicated to working with the affiliation to attain an “amenable final result”.

Thames-Coromandel District Council needed to rewrite its freedom tenting bylaw in 2014 after a Excessive Courtroom decide discovered it to be unlawful and in contradiction with itself, siding with the affiliation.

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