13 Sep 2021

A Hearings Panel will begin considering public submissions today on a proposal to make changes to the freedom camping bylaw that covers Christchurch and Banks Peninsula.

Christchurch City Council has received 97 submissions on proposed changes to update and improve its Freedom Camping Bylaw, which was first introduced five years ago. 

The proposed bylaw changes include:

  • Making a temporary ban on freedom camping in the North Beach carpark permanent. The ban would apply at weekends from October to May to enable good access to the carpark when it is at its busiest.
  • Creating a City Coastal Restricted Zone – where freedom campers could stay for up to four nights in any 30-day period. This new zone would prevent campers using the current 500 metre rule to move short distances every few days and stay in the coastal area for extended periods of time.
  • Introducing a new rule to encourage campers to be more careful about how they set up their camping vehicles and any other camping gear. The rule would prevent campers from blocking thoroughfares and spreading out.
  • Creating a specified area at Naval Point in Lyttelton where freedom campers can stay, and limiting the number of freedom camping spots to 18 vehicles.

A report prepared by Council staff for the Hearings Panel says most of the submissions received are generally supportive of the proposed bylaw changes, although some disagreed, and others put forward suggestions to further improve the bylaw.

The main area of contention was the City Coastal Restricted Zone proposal.

“Submissions on this proposal were very mixed,’’ the report notes. “There was strong opposition in relation to Southshore being included, with some wanting camping prohibited instead.’’ 

The Hearings Panel will consider all the matters raised in the submissions and seek advice from staff before making recommendations to the Council on the final form of the bylaw.

The aim is to have an updated Freedom Camping Bylaw in place by the start of the summer.