Hundreds of street campers fined
BYRON Shire Council says it handed out more than 1000 fines for parking offences mostly around Byron Bay between Boxing Day and New Year's Day.
The council said a blitz by compliance officers led to 550 fines for "street camping" - visitors sleeping in their vehicles overnight, while another 490 tickets were handed out for other parking and vehicle offences.
Byron Shire Council governance manager Ralph James said compliance officers issued double the number of fines over this peak holiday than they did over the same period in 2010/2011.
"Camping in residential streets in Byron Shire is an issue of concern for many residents because of the impacts of noise, disturbance, rubbish and loss of amenity," he said.
"It also has an impact on the residents in our community that operate legitimate accommodation venues, and whose livelihoods are dependent on people staying in authorised places in the Byron Shire during the holiday season."
Mr James said that in response to community concerns about street camping, and knowing the holiday period would see an increase in the number of visitors in the Byron Shire, the council ensured as many resources as possible were deployed to enforce the Shire's by-laws.
"In the latter part of 2011 Council received numerous and regular complaints from the community about street camping," he said.
"Council anticipated an increase in street camping over the holiday period, and rostered its rangers to best address the issue.
"Although State legislation does not allow Council to be as active as it wants to be in this area, during the Christmas/New year period Council's Rangers were rostered to carry out early morning patrols of streets known to be of concern, and issued Penalty Notices where applicable.
"We employed a concerted and consistent enforcement effort in accordance with developed Standard Operating Procedures.
"These operating procedures reflect the concerns of the community and Council, so that issues important to the community are a top priority."