Faeces, toilet paper, beer bottles left at national park
A DISGUSTING mess including faeces, toilet paper and camping rubbish was strewn by disrespectful visitors at Paterson Hill at the Arakwal National Park over the new year period.
In 2014 Arakwal was named on the world's top 20 best-managed protected areas by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.
Now this beautiful area has been covered in foul rubbish left behind by unruly tourists.
Byron Bay resident and former Tourism Advisory Committee member, Jim Beatson, contacted The Northern Star with photos of the foul mess, which he said gave visitors to the region a bad name and left a revolting mess for locals to clear up.
"On the other side of the road a Queensland-registered car with a couple of fold up chairs underneath the car," he said.
"Just near the chairs, broken beer bottles, a couple more broken chairs and boxes of rubbish tumbling down the hill towards Broken Head Rd.
"This site was once of one of Byron Bay's most famous protests where citizens sat down in front of bulldozers, ultimately preventing more real estate development and expanding the Arakwal National Park."
Mr Beatson said the visitors who left the mess showed no respect for the environment.
He said the green waste bins full of clothing, bedding, plastic containers, a garden hose and other junk, while the yellow bins were full of non-recyclables.
"Next to Byron High at the rear entrance to the Arakwal National Park, I spotted a NSW four-wheel-drive with monster suspension and tyres that drove over the chainguard preventing access and so pushing down the chain's post," he said.
"On my complaint a State Parks and Wildlife Officer issued this culprit with an on the spot fine."
Mr Beatson said he served for four years on the Byron Council's Tourism Advisory Committee (TAC) which produced much good research and an excellent information campaign.
"This was aimed at visitors, explaining Byron values and how to behave when they visited our Shire," he said.
"(But) none of the TAC's plans were implemented. The abuses continue."
Mr Beatson said he is concerned as rates for 2016-17 have already gone up by up to 20-plus percent this year in Byron Bay town.
"This is before the extra increase as proposed by Council," he said.
"Council admits that the costs of clean-up exacerbated by our tourism industry are an additional 25- 30% of yearly budget. I hope our new councillors will face up to tourism and make them carry their weight."