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By ROBYN BRISTOW

A third attempt has been launched in the Hurunui district to manage freedom campers without self-contained vehicles.

The vexed question of freedom camping on council-owned or managed land was debated for more than an hour by councillors in a bid to find common ground on where freedom campers could pull up or pitch a tent.

In the end, it was decided to banish them from the centre of Hanmer Springs and Gore Bay, and limit numbers that can pull into the Scargill reserve, Cheviot, the Hanmer Springs River reserve on the outskirts of town, and the Glenmark Domain.

Otherwise, it will be business as usual.

Only 10 campers can pull into the Hanmer Springs River reserve until such time as public toilets are built to cater for non-self contained vehicles.

Feedback from local residents following the summer cited concerns over the loss of vistas and people hanging washing on lines, bushes and fences. They also raised issues with long-term camping, particularly at the Glenmark Domain, where some who were working in the area had chosen to stay.

Enforcement costs, the cost of signage, rubbish left lying around, toilet capacity at designated sites, the cost of a special consultative process, and how freedom camping impacted on anyone close by who operated motels, holiday homes and camping grounds, were also raised by both residents and councillors.

Council staff will now go back to the drawing board to put a statement of proposal together, clearly identifying freedom camping areas. They will also do an area analysis.

A special consultative process will then kick in, giving people a month to submit on the proposal before a hearing and a decision, hopefully before the October local government elections.

Whatever the final outcome, the bylaw will come at a cost, with ratepayers having to pay for signage and enforcement on what many, up and down the country, believe central government should be helping to pay for, not local government.

Efforts to find a way forward began two years ago, when a proposed bylaw
was put out for consultation, with 25 submissions received.

The regulatory committee decided a more detailed area analysis was
needed and a second proposal prepared. This was consulted on in
June last year, with 19 submissions received, which provided sharply
opposing views.

The council decided these could not be resolved immediately. It supported
the bylaw and ordered an immediate review, which it considered last week.