The recent proposal announced by the Auckland Council would allow freedom campers to stay at seven sites around the Howick Ward.
Howick ward Councillor Sharon Stewart says the proposed sites are concerning and local residents deserve a chance to have their say.
“Freedom camping is a controversial proposal within our communities, so I’m pleased that the Council is planning a public consultation phase before any final decisions are made on these locations in Howick,” Stewart says.
“A lot of local residents have been in touch with me to express their concerns since the trial period was conducted earlier this year, with most opposed because of the potential for damage to property and treasured public spaces.”
Most of the proposed sites are well-trafficked parks and beaches, and she says it has been seen in other areas of New Zealand where this approach has caused problems.
She says rubbish and general cleanliness issues are a big part of why people dislike freedom camping in their area.
“During the recent Council meeting to discuss this proposed bylaw, I attempted to raise further objections on behalf of our community to the sites it would still allow freedom campers to use, but was voted down.
“While I believe freedom camping has a place in Auckland and in the Howick Ward, I also feel it should be strictly limited to spaces that have adequate facilities like toilets and responsible rubbish management. I’m not currently convinced that the identified locations properly fulfill those needs,” she says.
Stewart wants to encourage local residents to speak up and make submissions on this proposal when the public consultation period begins.
“It’s important the Council understands how it will affect our area.”