Frequently Asked Questions
On Wednesday, Council adopted a bylaw, called the City Amenity Bylaw, which aims to help manage the safety and amenity of our central city and suburban shopping areas.
The people of Nelson were asked to make submissions on a draft bylaw and Council received over 319 submissions. Those submissions have helped shape the content of the final Bylaw.
Nelsonians value their freedom to use public places as they wish, including the right to protest. However they also recognise that a degree of balance is required, and some private uses of public spaces are not appropriate as they undermine general public enjoyment of an area.
The process to develop a bylaw is a complex process, and hopefully the following Q&A sheds a little light on this.
What is a bylaw?
A bylaw is a rule or regulation that can be put in place by a local authority.
This particular bylaw addresses the safety and amenity of our central city – in other words, how does our city look and feel for residents and visitors when they come into our central city. We want people to feel welcomed, comfortable and safe. Businesses need to be able to trade and public areas should be able to be enjoyed by all.
What areas does this Bylaw address?
This bylaw relates to city amenity, (use of spaces, addressing lighting, and the blocking of retail windows), and to safety (no sleeping overnight without permission, notifying Council of organised events that could impact road users or general public).
Why has this taken so long?
Many people have asked why this process has taken so long. Bylaws can only be adopted after they have followed a process set out in legislation - the Local Government Act 2002. The process has several steps and includes developing a Draft Bylaw, advertising the Draft Bylaw, calling for public submissions, holding a hearing so people can speak to the Mayor and Councillors about their submissions, and then considering those submissions and making a final decision on the content of the Bylaw.
How does this impact the people currently sleeping without shelter in City Centres?
Homelessness in any form or for any reason is not the best outcome for any Nelson citizen's health, safety or wider wellbeing. A multi-agency approach is needed, and Council has a role as a facilitator.
By working with agencies such as the Ministry of Social Development, Police, Salvation Army, and the District Health Board, we can help people find safer and healthier options for accommodation.
This bylaw will mean people sleeping on our central city footpaths (or park benches) during night time hours cannot do so unless permission is given. The bylaw also means things cannot block the windows of retailers/stores in the Central City.
How and when will this be enforced?
The bylaw will commence on 11 September 2017.
With existing bylaws a variety of enforcement methods are used, which commence with conversations with those in breach, to legal action for more serious cases. The enforcement process for this bylaw will be the same.