Posted by Ruth Woodward
Western Bay of Plenty District Council is planning to put the new KiwiCamp facility at the Seaforth Road carpark near Bowentown in time for the 2019/20 summer season, subject to appropriate consents being obtained.
Council went out for community consultation on possible locations for the facility in addition to its engagement on the 2019/20 Annual Plan during April/May.
The KiwiCamp was to have been set up at the Waihi Beach Community Centre but community opposition to this location led to Council reconsidering the location options.
Following further community consultation there was overwhelming support for the facility to be put at the Seaforth Road carpark.
The Seaforth Road carpark site is already designated under Council’s freedom camping bylaw, has good access to the beach and cycleway network and has water, power and sewerage connections nearby.
Council will install the facility which is a pay-as-you-go, relocatable, prefabricated building with toilets, dishwashing and laundry facilities, showers, access to potable water, waste and recycling areas, device charging and wireless internet.
The facility is planned for installation by the end of November. Council will review the effectiveness and use of the facility after the summer season.
KiwiCamp is among initiatives funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to help councils reduce freedom camping complaints and to encourage responsible, enjoyable travelling for campers, both domestic and international.
Western Bay was one of a select few councils in New Zealand to receive the one-off grant of $340,000 to improve facilities and monitoring for the increasing numbers of freedom campers in the District. The KiwiCamp facility cost $200,000 and the balance has been used for Smart Bins and security monitoring.
There are 47 freedom camping sites across the District governed by Council’s Freedom Camping Bylaw which requires all freedom camping to be in self-contained vehicles. Council employs a security firm from October to March to monitor and ensure compliance with the bylaw.