Ashburton District Council today voted to allow unmanned aircraft, including drones and model aeroplanes, to be flown over Council land, providing operators follow conditions to protect people's safety and privacy.
This approach to unmanned aircraft will apply until the Parks and Public Gardens Bylaw is reviewed in March 2016.
The conditions for operating unmanned aircraft on Council land include:
- being courteous to other park users;
- not flying over people in public places or adjoining private property;
- seeking permission from people before they are included in any video footage;
- not operating over a sports field that is being used;
- not operating over public areas that have been booked.
Unmanned aircraft are also not permitted within 50 metres of a playground, paddling pool or swimming pool or within council cemeteries or campgrounds. People using the equipment will need to comply with Civil Aviation Authority rules and to stop operating their aircraft at the request of Council staff.
Ashburton Mayor Angus McKay said the Council needed to consider the use of unmanned aircraft because of new Civil Aviation Authority rules, requiring operators to gain consent from the landowner of any area they intend to fly over.
"It will be addressed by the review of the Parks and Public Gardens bylaw in March but we wanted to have a clear position on the subject, for the public and unmanned aircraft operators, to carry us through to that time," Mr McKay said.