Campgrounds to come under review

REVIEW: The Whitecliffs Domain is one of the campgrounds managed by the district council.

Changes could be made to how camping grounds are managed in Selwyn.

The district council is reviewing the impact of freedom camping at its reserves and considering what is needed to address ongoing issues ahead of summer. It is expected a report will be completed next month.

Selwyn Times previously reported that pressure was being put on the district as a result of the Christchurch City Council changing its Freedom Camping Bylaw to ban campers without toilets from using city council-owned land.

District council open spaces and property manager Mark Rykers said it needs a plan to provide and manage camping facilities due to the rapid growth and demand of visitors.

The district council is responsible for managing campgrounds like Rakaia Huts, Whitecliffs Domain, Chamberlains Ford, Coes Ford and Lakeside Domain. It employs three reserve officers to monitor them.

But Mr Rykers said anti-social behaviour, vandalism and rubbish have not been a major issue at Selwyn campgrounds compared to other areas in the country.

However, the Whitecliffs Township Committee requested an area under the bridge at Whitecliffs Domain be reserved for residents in the Long Term Plan. It said the area was being saturated with campers in summer and should be made “pedestrian only” with a small parking area.

But committee chairwoman Jodie Thompson said the area did not have to be exclusively for residents. She said the review could address issues at the domain. Last month the district council put three picnic tables in the area and planted thousands of native plants.

“I am personally not against freedom camping. I think it is great when you can go somewhere and camp for free,” Mrs Thompson said.

But she said other residents think it is unfair because they pay rates towards the campground and are unable to use it.

•HAVE YOUR SAY: How do you think camping should be managed across the district? Email your views to georgia.oconnor@starmedia.kiwi

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