Freedom campsites in Marlborough “technically non-compliant”

Renwick Sports and Events Center director David McLuckie said

CHLOE RANFORD / LDR

Renwick Sports and Events Center director David McLuckie said “local scallywags” are more of a nuisance than freedom campers.

A council is trying to legalize camping on its free campsites after realizing that none of them complied with national or regional rules.

Of the five free-range campsites owned by Marlborough District Council, two are in violation of National Reserve rules and four are awaiting approval of resource consent to make camping legal.

The sites, which welcomed 4,300 tourists over the summer, were the only ones to survive an overhaul of the region’s free camping regulations six months ago. Eight others were closed.

The council admitted following a request from the Local Government Information and Official Meetings Act (LGOIMA) that the four sites without resource consent were “technically non-compliant” under its own regional environmental plan. .

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The proposed Marlborough Environmental Plan did not explicitly allow camping at the municipal parking lot at Wynen St, the Taylor River Dam, the Elterwater Lake Preserve, and the Wairau bypass campsites, which meant consent was required.

A spokesperson for the board said the compliance team is aware of this and is actively seeking resource consent. He did not specify when these were to be deposited.

Legalizing the Wairau diversion site, northeast of Blenheim, is expected to take longer than the others, as the council planned to spend $ 900,000 on its landscaping. The idea was to improve its layout, as well as health and safety.

The council’s resource consent database, which was publicly available, showed on Tuesday that the council had not filed resource consent requests for the four sites.

The Renwick Estate is one of five free-range campsites managed by the Marlborough District Council.

CHLOE RANFORD / LDR

The Renwick Estate is one of five free-range campsites managed by the Marlborough District Council.

He also had not legalized camping at his Renwick Estate and Taylor River Dam sites under the Reserves Act, although he had the power to do so because he wanted the blessing of the advisers.

Camping was only allowed on New Zealand reserves under the law if this was allowed in a management plan for the reserve or if the Minister of Conservation Kiritapu Allan has given his consent.

The Renwick Estate and Taylor River Dam sites had neither. The government had given council the option of allowing camping on their reserves, but staff wanted a “formal recommendation” approved by Marlborough councilors.

Renwick Sports and Events Center Director David McLuckie was surprised that camping was not technically permitted at the Renwick Estate site, next to the Events Center.

Anita Ireland, director of Renwick Nic Nacs, says loose camping is less of a problem than it used to be.

CHLOE RANFORD / LDR

Anita Ireland, director of Renwick Nic Nacs, says loose camping is less of a problem than it used to be.

“I’ve always been ‘for’ free camping … we’ve never had a problem with them. Local scallywags cause more problems. Lately we have more and more Kiwis or people looking to work locally, who stay until they find somewhere.

Anita Ireland, manager of Nic Nacs, who worked in a store 90 meters from the site, believed Freedom campsites were hurting accommodation businesses, but was not against them.

“We don’t have a problem with freedom campers. We used to do this, but it’s a lot more contained now thanks to the advice. “

Thompson Electrical chief executive Richard Thompson said some summers between 20 and 30 vehicles had parked at the site overnight. Area regulations had long limited the number of vehicles at Renwick Estate to 10 per night.

Renwick man Richard Thompson says Freedom Campers have little effect on his business.

CHLOE RANFORD / LDR

Renwick man Richard Thompson says Freedom Campers have little effect on his business.

“The site doesn’t affect us too much. Sometimes we find campers doing the dishes in the toilet block next door.

Renwick resident Anthony Heaslip said he was constantly picking up bottles left by “messy” freedom campers.

“I don’t think we should have loose campsites … There are loads of hotels and campgrounds around.”

Residents of Double Bay, in the Marlborough Sounds, called council’s attention to the Reserves Act during a review of the area’s free camping regulations last year, with the aim of shutting down the site near from their house. Residents alleged that campers defecated in their gardens and stole their water.

They believed this was against the law, which required councils to protect the “amenity” of their reservations.

Ten vehicles are permitted to park at Renwick Estate per night.

CHLOE RANFORD / LDR

Ten vehicles are permitted to park at Renwick Estate per night.

What is missing:

Domaine Renwick – reserve authorization

Taylor River dam – reserve authorization, resource consent

Wynen St parking lot – resource clearance

Laker Elterwater Reserve – resource consent

Wairau diversion – consent of the resource

Do you have a history of the board that we don’t know about? Then email reporter Chloe Ranford at chloe.ranford@stuff.co.nz


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Sally J. Minick

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