INDEPENDENT NEWS

Council Calls for Responsible Freedom Camping Ambassadors

Published: Tue 17 Sep 2019 04:53 PM
You saw them in their high-viz vests at Whangarei’s freedom camping spots last year, and this year you could be one of them.
Whangarei District Council is again calling for applications from community-minded locals interested in becoming one of this summer’s volunteer responsible freedom camping ambassadors.
For the second year in a row, Council has secured a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment grant to implement a responsible camping programme aimed at encouraging freedom campers to play by Whangarei’s rules and giving residents greater confidence their environment and quality of life will be respected.
“As the friendly locals greeting and educating freedom campers at our district’s most popular freedom camping spots, the ambassadors are a significant part of that programme,” says Alison Geddes, WDC General Manager, Planning and Development.
“Ideal ambassador candidates are community-minded locals who enjoy chatting with tourists, have most afternoons or evenings free, and live near Whangarei’s most popular freedom camping spots.”
Following the success of last year’s pilot ambassador programme, the freedom camping sites monitored by ambassadors have this year been boosted to include four inner-city freedom camping sites at Tarewa iSite, Reyburn House Lane in the Town Basin, Cobham Oval and Bascule Bridge carparks. The Reotahi freedom camping site at Whangarei Heads has also been added to last year’s coastal sites of Ruakaka Beach Reserve, Woolleys Bay, Sandy Bay, Matapouri Bay (Wehiwehi Road), Kowharewa Bay, Tamaterau, Parua Bay and Ocean Beach.
Ambassadors will be rostered to visit sites daily in the late afternoon or evening throughout the peak camping season of Friday 13 December 2019 to Friday 21 February 2020.
“Ideally, there will be a few ambassadors attached to each site to rotate the daily tasks of greeting campers, ensuring they know the rules, recording data and reporting any problems to Council and its enforcement agency, Armourguard,” Alison Geddes says.
“Ambassadors have no enforcement responsibilities themselves, rather they educate our visitors about the standards of behaviour expected of them.”
Alison Geddes urges anyone interested in becoming an ambassador, and who lives near the Tutukaka Coast, Whangarei Heads, inner city or Ruakaka freedom camping sites, to find out more about the role or complete the ambassador application form on Council’s website.
“Successful ambassador applicants receive full training, ongoing Council support throughout the programme, and an honorarium to cover their time, petrol and mobile phone use,” Alison says.
“As we learned last year, ambassadors are integral to everyone enjoying summer in Whangarei, so we want to support them as best we can.”
Applications close at 4pm on Friday 19 October with successful candidates advised by 4pm on Friday 1 November.
To apply to become an ambassador or learn more about the role, go to Council’s website at wdc.govt.nz/FreedomCamping. Application forms are also available from Council’s Customer Service Centre at Forum North in Rust Ave, or by contacting WDC Responsible Freedom Camping Co-ordinator, Sue Halliwell, on (09) 470 3133 or Susan.Halliwell@wdc.govt.nz.

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