Holiday park owners continue to condemn Nelson City Council’s decision to create new areas for freedom campers.

Nelson City Top 10 Holiday Park owner Steve Edwards said the plan was bizarre.

“We’ve got to have camp ground licences, we’ve got to have health licences, and proper health and safety … it costs us to do all this and then the council turns around and want to give it all away for free,” Edwards said. “It’s not an even playing field.”

Edwards and his wife Jeanette own a number of holiday parks across the country, including Nelson City Top 10 Holiday Park on Vanguard Street and Motueka Top 10 Holiday Park.

They said while they could understand the council wanted to encourage visitors to the region, this was not the way to go about it.

“People just assume that if you provide something for free, they’re going to spend their money on other things,” Jeanette said.

“But the thing is, from our experience and what we’ve noticed over the years, is that if you provide it for free they’re just not going to spend any money, because they don’t have any money to spend.”

The city council plans to encourage freedom campers away from central Nelson car parks, by setting up free Wi-Fi, portaloos and alcohol-friendly zones close to the city, at Akersten St, Rutherford Park and Haven Road.

The council said it would cost ratepayers up to $80,000 to cover services which include security, rubbish collection and $19,000 for internet access.

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