City's Parking Lot Camping Draws Fire
Freedom camping in central Nelson (New Zealand) car parks (parking lots) is making the city look "cheap and shabby", said Nick Smith, a member of New Zealand's parliament, according to the Nelson Mail.
Business owners are also concerned at the impact of tourists using city car parks as makeshift campsites.
Smith is urging the Nelson City Council to tighten up its freedom camping bylaws which he says are "too liberal" and have led to camping getting "out of control" this summer.
Since September, the council has allowed freedom camping for certified self contained campers (with toilet and washing facilities) on council land, except in residential areas and on public parks and reserves.
Camper vehicles without toilet facilities can camp close to public toilets. That has seen an upsurge in freedom campers in the Buxton and Montgomery squares car park, and at Millers Acre.
Smith, who is also New Zealand's conservation minister, said freedom camping at sites like Millers Acre had "gotten completely out of control this summer."
"This is a prime central city site for which ratepayers and taxpayers have spent millions on a world-class DOC and information centre. We should not allow it to descend into a free-for-all campground for hundreds of travellers who refuse to pay the basic cost of staying in our purpose-built campgrounds," Smith said.
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