Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says Wellington is a popular destination for freedom campers visiting local tourist attractions and crossing by ferry between the North and South Islands.
During the summer period around 100 vehicles a day arrive in Wellington looking for somewhere to park and camp for the night and the number of approved locations is limited.
“The south coast is lovely but the combination of a good summer, the new Freedom Camping Act, and online promotion, meant many local residents felt the approved freedom camping sites were overwhelmed.
“Some provision is available for self-contained camper vehicles in the city and there is a need for additional space to accommodate low-cost, non-self contained motor homes and tents.
“Happy Valley has great nature walks including the Tawatawa Reserve, the City-to-Sea walkway, and attractions like the Owhiro Community gardens,” she says.
Initial consultation by staff showed there is a range of views about siting a camping area at Happy Valley Park location.
“We must find a good balance between welcoming visitors, protecting amenities for locals, and caring for our natural environment,” she says.
Open Space and Parks Manager, Amber Bill, says a number of sites were investigated and the Happy Valley car park had potential for 33 camping sites, including campervans, smaller vans and tents.
“The Happy Valley site has the potential to be developed into a fit for purpose motor home and camping park,” she says.
Last summer the Council allowed freedom camping with restrictions at Evans Bay and Te Kopahou Reserve Car Park.
Most submissions on the Freedom Camping Bylaw agreed with council’s proposals to restrict numbers at Te Kopahou.
Consultation will include the opportunity for people to have a say about how the camp site could be managed, for example ‘self-serve’ or with an onsite camp manager.
The consultation is expected to take place in the next month and run for four weeks.