Moving forward with improving responsible freedom camping in Westland
A very large and enthusiastic group of people attended the Extraordinary Council Meeting on Thursday, 7 February, at Westland District Council. Local accommodation providers were asked to put forward their views on the impact of Council’s responsible camping sites on their respective businesses. Council heard from 18 people, the majority of whom own commercial accommodation businesses. This gave Council valuable insight into the effects of the responsible camping sites on local accommodation providers and their communities. Many of the submitters provided statistical information about visitor numbers to their businesses and the differences seen in the 2017/18 and 2018/19 peak seasons. Some practical measures were suggested that offered a good balance between following the legislation and ensuring that local accommodation providers are able to maintain and expand their business operations.
Westland District Mayor, Bruce Smith, would like to thank the members of the public who came to the meeting for their contributions, which gave Council a better understanding of what is going on in the district.
Based on the feedback Council has asked staff to investigate options to mitigate any potential commercial impacts on existing businesses. Staff will look at immediate solutions to alleviate the overcrowding of the sites, which will include providing signage at the responsible camping sites encouraging campers to stay at local accommodation providers. A report will be presented back to the Council with a review of the current situation and provide potential recommendations to alleviate concerns of the commercial operators. The Council meeting will be held on 28 February 2019.