Campervan crowd face crackdown
By RACHEL AFFLICK email@example.com BYRON BAY real estate agent Neil Cameron says the time has come to crack down on illegal campers abusing Byron Bay car parks at the expense of ratepayers.
The fastest growing type of tourism in NSW, the mobile traveller industry, has led to a situation where hundreds of campervans are converging on Byron Bay daily.
But instead of going into tourist parks, many mobile campers are choosing to set up for the night in local car parks and in side streets, using public facilities such as toilet amenities free of charge.
"We'd estimate between Seven Mile Beach and the highway out at Tyagarah you could probably get up to 150 vans on any one night," Mr Cameron said.
A member of the Byron Bay Boardriders Club, Mr Cameron gets up early every morning for a surf at Suffolk Park. He is fed up with coming out of his home, walking down the track to the beach and finding rubbish and human faeces left over from illegal campers.
"It's a situation that's grown over the years with the growth of the industry," he said.
"Broken Head is a classic example. Some mornings I can count 15 vans camping overnight, basically right next to the caravan park."
Mr Cameron said one of the problems was van rental companies advertising free rent by suggesting people could sleep in their van.
He said that overcoming the problem of illegal camping would require action by the State Government and local councils.
However, Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia representative Phil Berry said Byron Bay should embrace mobile holiday-makers and acknowledge the need to provide areas for them to stay.
"With the erection of areas where they can legally stay overnight, the council could overcome a lot of the problems they're experiencing at the moment," he said.
Mr Berry said the club had a scheme which the council could adopt locally by which campers could properly dispose of their waste water.