Numbers down but freedom camping still a family favourite

Press Release – Gisborne District Council

Absolute beach front summer holidays are still accessible to all in the Gisborne district. Numbers of freedom campers are down this year but East Coast people still value the experience of packing up their camping gear and heading to the beach.Media Release

Release date: Tuesday 17 January 2012
Numbers down but freedom camping still a family favourite
Absolute beach front summer holidays are still accessible to all in the Gisborne district. Numbers of freedom campers are down this year but East Coast people still value the experience of packing up their camping gear and heading to the beach.

Families want to preserve the opportunity to freedom camp and they want the Gisborne District Council to ensure this opportunity survives, says Jenny Allen Council’s reserves supervisor. “I have just returned from camping at Pouawa beach. I noticed more young families making the most of this unique East Coast experience.”

“A permit costs $10 for 2 nights, $25 for 10 nights or $60 for 28 nights. It is one of the few holidays families on a tight budget can afford. You get given blue rubbish bags when you get your permit. Permits area available from

• the freedom camping rubbish contractor

• i-Sites in Gisborne, Opotiki, Wairoa and Whakatane

• Uawa Foodmarket, Tolaga Bay

• Waerenga-o-Kuri Store (for Donneraille Park)

• Council offices in Fitzherbert Street, Gisborne or Te Puia.

The permit covers the cost of getting the rubbish bags picked up and effluent disposal at the ‘porta potty’ tanks on-site in all the freedom camping areas.”

“It is too early in the season to tell what our final number of campers will be this year but at the moment numbers are down. A long spell of hot, sunny weather could change that. We issued 623 freedom camping permits at 31 December 2011 compared to 720 issued at 31 December 2010. January numbers are also looking down on last year.”

Overall freedom camping numbers have been growing steadily since 2004. In the summer of 2004/05 Council issued 623 permits to 2790 campers; 1554 of these campers were from out of the district. Last year Council issued 1535 permits to 5365 campers; 2546 who were from out of the district.

“The same issues have come up again this year”, says Ms Allen. “Despite the very regular rubbish collection some campers choose to leave their unwanted or broken camping equipment behind when they go home. A large broken freezer was left at the Blue Waters camp in Tolaga Bay recently. This is considered illegal dumping and fines of up to $400 can be issued. If anyone has information on illegal dumping please contact Council customer services with registration numbers and ideally photos. No camper wants to arrive at their preferred camping spot, looking forward to spectacular views and gorgeous beaches, to find broken chairs, shelters and piles of rubbish bags left behind.”

“All rubbish must be put in the blue rubbish bags which get picked up three times a week in the peak season -till 7 February. They must be left by your tent before 8am for the contractor to pick up or taken to All Brights Transfer Station in Innes Street, Gisborne.”

“The other ongoing problem is campers not having their own chemical toilet or using the public toilets. One of the conditions of the permit is that campers must provide their own portable chemical toilet. Public toilets are for day visitors only. Council’s public toilets, in all the freedom camping areas, use septic systems or holding tanks. They are not designed to cope with the large number of campers in the area during the peak camping season.”

ENDS

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