Park owner warns we can't lose control of free camping
Friday 4.06pm: Owner of Byron Holiday Park Michelle Bourke has added her voice to the chorus of Byron caravan Park owners frustrated by free campers in the town.
"We have lots of free sites, we generally only fill up at Christmas and maybe the long weekends.
"There is always capacity there to take vans and free campers.
"We've got 150 sites, even if 75 were taken up per night and the off season rent to that would be $40 for two people."
She said she could be making another $3000 per night just in the off season if more free campers used their facilities.
"We pay taxes, we pay water rates, we pay everything through the council and I know the council is trying as hard as they can to get these people to go into licensed premises but it's not working at the moment.
"I think it is very frustrating and I think there is a big backlash against these free campers and unfortunately it is up to the council to police it.
"We cannot let it get like New Zealand where there is just people pulling up everywhere, they've lost control of it."
Friday 1.23pm: BYRON caravan parks are losing thousands with 'free loaders' illegally camping all along the coastline.
NSW Crown Holiday Park Trust have a number of caravan parks in the region and said they generally have unpowered sites still available, even in peak times.
At their Clarkes Beach location the cost of an unpowered site is $47 with powered sites costing $55.
CEO Steve Edmonds said at the rate of 160 vans renting a powered site, the business is losing $8800 per night.
"Holiday parks have invested in significant infrastructure and pay for professional management," Mr Edmonds said.
"Whenever a potential visitor uses the free option instead it denies holiday park managers and owners the business they have worked hard for."
Mr Edmonds said he opposed the idea that these free campers contribute to the local economy.
"It is well documented that paying holiday park guests spend $1.39 in the local economy for every $1 spent in the park," he said.
The Trust believes the solution is for organisations such as Caravan & Camping Industry Association NSW and Councils across the state to work together to ensure free camping is controlled in NSW.