Little Shoal Bay Reserve – No camping!

Auckland Council proposed site for non self contained “freedom camping”
Photograph by Jeremy Richards
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Map of Little Shoal Bay Reserve

The red flag in the map marks the center of the area identified by Auckland Council for freedom camping. The flag in the map is at least 500 mm underwater in the photograph.

Auckland Council map of proposed Freedom Camping restricted area

Map of Little Shoal Bay Reserve designated by Auckland Council for “freedom camping”

Why have Auckland Council mapped the whole of Dudding Field as a restricted area? Both the car-park (darker blue) and most of the light blue areas are a FLOOD ZONE!

Here’s another map from Auckland Council which shows that Little Shoal Bay Reserve is the only central site in the Auckland Region that is proposed for non self contained freedom camping. Also note well that there are no non self contained sites south of the harbour. Have any Council Officers or Councillors actually been to Little Shoal Bay Reserve to see for themselves what a nonsense this proposal is?

Auckland Council map of proposed freedom camping restrictions

Here’s some key points:

  • Auckland Council have (as far as we know) not explored alternative options to meet 2011 Freedom Camping Act obligations and therefore should not proceed with current proposals to use parks and reserves until they demonstrate that no other alternative (such as land banks, in return for rates rebate) is possible.
  • Auckland Council have continually failed over the seven years since “Super City” amalgamation to effectively monitor and enforce current bylaws that state in the case of the legacy North Shore City Council that “camping in parks and reserves is prohibited”.
  • Ratepayers have no trust in Council’s expertise or ability to manage public campsites when repeated requests by community individuals to respond and deal with persistent bylaw infringements have not been diligently acted on.
  • Under Unitary Plan intensification, over 1500 new dwellings in the Northcote / Birkenhead areas have or will have no significant outdoor space. The nearest reserve with beach is Little Shoal Bay Reserve. “Freedom Camping” will result in too many negative impacts on this reserve so it’s time to remove it from the list of proposed sites.
  • Camping in Little Shoal Bay Reserve will bring increased traffic, noise and pollution to the detriment of local flora, fauna and residents.
  • The safety of local children will be at risk from undesirable campers.
  • Public safety will be at risk from dangerous materials such as glass, needles, human waste and other activities.
  • There is insufficient existing infrastructure in Little Shoal Bay. Legalising any form of camping will create health problems in the bay for everyone.
  • Residents around the bay will be detrimentally affected by noise pollution from overnight camping. The ground topography acts like a sound shell, amplifying and projecting noise pollution to the surrounding homes in nearby residential streets.
  • Auckland Council charges ratepayers a bed tax and commercial rates for renting their home to “create a level playing field with commercial operators”. It’s inconsistent for Auckland Council to offer free camping to the detriment of local commercial camping operators.
  • The Airbnb bed tax that is gifted to ATEED for promoting tourism will encourage more and more tourists to camp in Auckland parks and reserves, exacerbating the current problems. If the bylaw is voted on by a majority of Councillors, the number of vehicles parking on a site can and probably will be increased by Council without any requirement for public notification.
  • There’s nothing free about “freedom camping”, so good people of Northcote, Birkenhead and further afield don’t throw in the towel yet!