Queenstown Lakes is banning freedom campers from two areas after continuing problems with rubbish and human waste left behind.
Announcing the measures yesterday, Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said his council would take a harder line against illegal freedom camping in areas such as Wanaka’s lakefront.
The measures, which will be put into place as soon as practicable, were a response to significant growth in freedom camping in the district this summer, Mr Boult said.
Enforcement alone was not enough, and the council had resolved to “take a harder stand”.
“These pressure points are seeing overcrowding, risks to public health due to human waste, and potential damage to our environment with people bathing and washing dishes or clothes in the lakes or rivers.”
Parts of the district were also being used like a “giant toilet”. . .
The council would also lobby the Government to put much more funding into building public toilet facilities, and providing more remote freedom camping sites throughout the district.
Too few public facilities is a major contributor to the problem and small councils with lots of tourists don’t have the rating base to fund loos in all the places where they’re needed.
The previous government introduced a fund councils could apply to for tourist infrastructure, much more is needed.
He would also be talking to ministers about reviewing the low hurdle required for meeting “self-contained” criteria for toilets in vehicles. . .
The only acceptable criteria for a ‘self-contained” toilet is those built-in ones in camper vans.
Councils can fine people camping where they shouldn’t be, but only about 20% of fines issued to freedom campers in the Waitaki District have been paid.
Fines totalling $17,000 were issued to freedom campers across the district. Of the infringement notices issued, each for $200, 15 ($3000) had been paid while 58 ($11,600) were outstanding.
The remaining 12, worth $2400, had been withdrawn…
The solution to this would be to make vehicle owners responsible for any fines. That way rental companies would have to pay and then get the money from the people hiring from them which is, I think, what happens with parking fines.
Another contributor to problems caused by careless campers is different rules from different councils in different areas.
Careless campers are a country-wide problem that needs a country-wide solution.
That will include more public facilities, clearer rules, and better education on what is and isn’t acceptable.
Defecation in public is the norm in some countries, visitors must be left with no doubt that they can’t pooh in public places here.