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Vanpackers - if you can't beat 'em, rent out carparks to 'em

TRICKY PROBLEM: Illegal camping in Tennyson Street, Byron Bay.
TRICKY PROBLEM: Illegal camping in Tennyson Street, Byron Bay. Contributed

BYRON Bay's perennial "vanpacker" camping problem could be solved by renting out carparks at night or landowners stepping in to offering accommodation, Byron Shire councillors heard yesterday.

The ideas were among those floated as the council voted to back a "freedom camping" proposal put forward by Cr Paul Spooner to entice travellers away from illegal camping in residential streets.

Councillors will now workshop a plan for cheap camping sites for RV tourists such as grey nomads or "vanpackers" and invite expressions of interest from camping providers for a 12-month trial.

This would herald a change from a zero-tolerance approach of issuing fines, Cr Spooner said.

"I've travelled in a kombi van in my time and I would have loved this idea," he said.

"They are largely self-contained and they don't need sites with bells and whistles."

As well as inviting EOIs from primitive camping providers, the town's car parks could be rented out at $10 a night, the council heard.

Cr Diane Woods suggested renting out Lawson Street car parking sites from 10pm to 10am, while Mayor Simon Richardson suggested the council's sports complex car park at Ewingsdale.

"It has parking for 350 or they could camp on the oval. It's away from residents and we may even make a dollar," he said.

Topics:  byron bay, byron shire council, tourism, vanpackers



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