Christchurch City Council Bans Freedom Camping
Christchurch City Council has banned freedom camping just three months after setting aside five specific locations for campers without toilets in their vehicles.
Council chief executive Karleen Edwards said the Council moved to close the sites after concerns were raised about overcrowding, the health and wellbeing of campers and residents, as well as the impact on the environment.
Edwards said the Council continued to welcome visitors to Christchurch City and Banks Peninsula and wanted to encourage them to stay and make use of the range of affordable accommodation across the district.
French Farm resident Chris Goldspink was thrilled with the decision. The only toilet block for the 100 plus visitors at the freedom camping site near him had become overloaded, causing sewage to leak onto a nearby beach.
"The big lesson for council and for us was that you can make the by-law but if you can't police it then there's a problem. And indeed we concluded there really is no cost-effective way of policing that particular group."
The temporary ban on freedom camping is in place until May while the council tries to come up with a permanent solution.
Akaroa-Wairewa Community Board chairperson Pam Richardson said that apart from the sewage, the campers had contributed very little to the community.
Those with toilets on board their vehicles will still be welcome to camp in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula.