Temporary freedom camping hubs to close gradually

File photo.

The three temporary freedom camping hubs set up in the Western Bay of Plenty and Tauranga City will be gradually closed over the next two weeks.

With the change to Alert Level 2, the temporary facilities set up to ensure strict self-isolation rules were followed, will no longer be required.

People are now able to resume local and inter-regional travel in a safe manner, says Western Zone Alternate CDEM Local Controller Rowan Wallace.

The three freedom camping hubs – Commerce Lane, Te Puke; Marine Park, Tauranga; and Uretara Reserve, Katikati - will therefore gradually revert to their normal designated use.

Rowan says freedom campers currently using the sites will be provided with information about available sites and facilities before the sites are closed.

"Those at Marine Park on Sulphur Point in Tauranga will be asked to relocate from the asphalt to nearby grass or move to one of the designated freedom camping locations within the City. 

"This is the priority site to close to ensure neighbouring businesses that normally use the location can function and the public can resume use of the boat ramp facilities.

"The additional temporary shower units and toilets at the Te Puke and Katikati hubs will be withdrawn by the end of next week.

"These were provided when many of the freedom campers were found to be living in vehicles that were not fully self-contained. The sites will revert to normal role under Council by-laws for freedom camping."

Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District Council manage most local freedom camping sites within the wider Western Bay of Plenty and these would be re-opened from today.

Rowan says the Department of Conservation campsites and facilities will also open during Alert level 2. 

Local camping grounds and accommodation facilities are also able to re-open, although each business would have their own requirements and procedures to follow under Alert Level 2, especially contact tracing.

Anyone unable to find suitable accommodation due to the impacts of COVID-19 can still contact Temporary Accommodation Service on 0508 754 163.

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